Finial for a Buddhist staff (khatvanga)


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 219

Tibetan Buddhism was practiced at the Chinese court throughout the fifteenth century. This finial would have capped a long staff used in Buddhist rituals to quell demons, which are symbolic of obstacles that must be overcome to reach enlightenment. Depicted on this implement are an overflowing vase (an Indic symbol of abundance) and three heads (one human, one decaying, and one skeletal), which represent the inevitability of change and death.

#7344. Finial for a Ritual Staff (Khatvanga)

Finial for a Buddhist staff (khatvanga), Ivory, China

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.