Vajra Flaying Knife

Date: ca. 15th century

Culture: Eastern Tibet, Derge

Medium: Steel inlaid with gold and silver

Dimensions: L. 22 11/16 in. (57.7 cm); W. 3 1/4 in. (8.3 cm)

Classification: Metalwork

Credit Line: Gift of Alexander Polsky, 1985

Accession Number: 1985.397


This flaying knife is styled in the Indian manner, with a long, hooked steel blade for butchering and flaying. A vajra (thunderbolt scepter), symbol par excellence of Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism, forms the handle. The steel blade issues from a wide-jawed sea monster (makara) hilt, finely damascened with gold and silver.