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Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Spear (Mdung)

17th–19th century
Iron, gold, silver, wood, pigment
L. 53 1/4 in. (135.3 cm); L. of spearhead 15 5/8 in. (39.7 cm)
Shafted Weapons
Credit Line:
Purchase, Kenneth and Vivian Lam Gift, and Funds from Various Donors, 2004
Accession Number:
2004.340a, b
Not on view
The decoration on the spearhead and shaft indicate that this spear was intended for ritual use, probably by an oracle. The spearhead is damascened in gold and silver with the motif known as "dry skulls," surrounded by stylized intestines. These are among the attributes of the fierce guardian deities and would be appropriate for a weapon intended for the chapel of such a deity, or for an oracle acting as a medium for one.
La Rocca, Donald J. Warriors of the Himalayas: Rediscovering the Arms and Armor of Tibet. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2006. pp. 5, 16, 174, 177–178, 206, 209, no. 78, ill.

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