Modern and Contemporary Art

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Ritual Sword, 20th century

Tibet, 20-2000
Wood with traces of pigment
31-1/2 x 3-1/4 in. (80.01 x 1.29 cm.)
Norton Simon Museum, Estate of Armand J. Labbé, in memory of his parents, Gertrude and Armand Labbé
P.2006.02.10
© Norton Simon Museum

Not on view

As a symbolic weapon, the sword represents the triumph of enlightenment over ignorance. The blade slices through the delusion of self, negative emotions and actions that create suffering. A wrathful deity usually holds such a sword in the right hand. This particular sword has a vajra, or thunderbolt, handle, with two severed heads and a skull on the blade.


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