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Pair of Brass Vajra Hair Ornaments
Tibet
18th century

length: 4.2cm

This pair of splendid little beads shaped as vajras or dorjes would have been worn in the hair. They are quite delightful for their fineness, complexity and overt
age and patina.

The
vajras have eight spokes plus a central spoke at either end.

They are constructed around a hollow tube (the central spoke of each
vajra) which is open at each end to allow the vajras to be threaded.

The central thumb grip of each
vajra has box settings which originally were inset with stones. In one, the stones are now completely missing; and in the other
two bright red coral cabochons are still present.

The
vajra is an important symbol in Mahayana Buddhism. Originally, the thunderbolt was a weapon of Indra from Indian Hindu legend. Indra became
incorporated into Tibetan Buddhist lore as a disciple of the Buddha, and was transformed into the bodhisattva Vajrapani. The
vajra emerged as the strongest
weapon in the universe and became a symbol of universal compassion of enlightened beings.

The two beads here are not major works of art but are very attractive keepsakes for all their wear.

References:
Beer, R., The Encyclopedia of Tibetan Symbols and Motifs, Serindia, 2004

Provenance: private collection, London.

Inventory no.: 4224 SOLD

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