Vajra Flaying Knife
ca. 15th century
Steel inlaid with gold and silver
L. 22 11/16 in. (57.7 cm); W. 3 1/4 in. (8.3 cm)
Gift of Alexander Polsky, 1985
This ritual knife is styled in the Indian manner—with a long hooked steel blade for butchering and flaying. The handle takes the form of a vajra (thunderbolt) that metamorphoses into a wide-jawed sea monster (makara), from which the blade emerges. Workshops in the region of Derge, Kham Province, in eastern Tibet, that excelled in such fine chiseled and damascened metalworking techniques may be responsible for this elaborate knife.
Object Type / Material