Photo © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem

Ritual scepter (vajra)
19th century
Brass casting
L: 13 cm
Gift of Martine Brugière, Clermont-Ferrand, France in memory of Lazare Gilfiks
Accession number: B92.1405
The ghanta and vajra are the chief implements of priests of esoteric Tantric Buddhism. The ritual bell represents the female principle and wisdom. The ritual scepter represents the male principle and is a mighty weapon used to dispel darkness and negative forces. Together, the bell and the scepter symbolize the unity of compassion and wisdom and the fundamental oneness of all opposites, the realization of which leads to salvation. Holding the scepter in his right hand and the bell in his left, the priest acquires divine power.

Digital presentation of this object was made possible by: The Ridgefield Foundation, New York, in memory of Henry J. and Erna D. Leir