Modern and Contemporary Art

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Ritual Scepter with Skull, 20th century

Tibet, 20-2000
Metal
17-1/4 x 7-1/2 in. (43.82 x 19.05 cm.)
Norton Simon Museum, Estate of Armand J. Labbé, in memory of his parents, Gertrude and Armand Labbé
P.2006.02.07
© Norton Simon Museum

Not on view

This weapon is used to cut through the fog of ignorance and to destroy hindrances to meditative contemplation, such as lack of belief, pride, distraction and inattention. This skull club, known as a khatvanga or danda, symbolically destroys the negativity created by karma. The braided handle has a half-vajra, or thunderbolt, at the bottom; a skull at the top has flames emanating from its open mouth and a flaming jewel on its crown.


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