Enquiry about object: 8716

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    Tibetan or Nepalese Gilded Repoussed Copper Vajra or Dorje Plaque

    Tibet or Nepal
    18th-19th century

    length: 39cm, width: 16cm, weight: 496g



    UK art market

    This good-sized, decorative gilded copper plaque has been repoussed in high relief with a large, three-pronged thunderbolt (vajra or dorje) motif. The plaque would have been attached to a wall, most probably in a temple or monastery compound. it is perforated with holes to allow such attachment.

    It is either Tibetan or Nepalese: Newari craftsmen from the Kathmandu Valley operated in both Nepal and Tibet.

    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 plaque here is in fine condition, and is very decorative.


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

    Henss, M., Buddhist Ritual Art of Tibet: A Handbook on Ceremonial Objects and Ritual Furnishings in the Tibetan Temple, Arnoldsche, 2020.

    Thurman, R.A. & D. Weldon, Sacred Symbols: The Ritual Art of Tibet, Sotheby’s/Rossi & Rossi,1999.

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