Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Ritual Object - Purba (peg)

ཆོས་ཆས། 法器
(item no. 65489)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1600 - 1699
Lineages Buddhist
Material Metal
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Object/Concept

Interpretation / Description

A purba (Tibetan: phur ba. Sanskrit: kila) is a three edged peg usually made from metal or wood. They are sometimes described as daggers with three blades. The most desirable of the metal pegs are constructed from meteorite iron. Sandalwood is also popular. Specific metals and types of wood are also prescribed for special rituals and purposes.

The principal deity associated with the purba is Vajrakila. These purbas generally have three faces at the top and crowned with a half vajra. Alternately a specific type of purba is connected with the practice of Hayagriva. This purba has a horse head at the top rather than a half vajra, although it should be noted that in his iconographic depictions he does not hold a purba. The Nyingma lama Jatson Nyingpo is generally shown with the left hand thrusting a purba downward. The Bon religion also uses the purba as a ritual object. These can generally be identified as having multiple heads with the top crowned with a garuda - the king of birds. See Purba bibliography.

Jeff Watt 3-2004

Related Items
Exhibition Appearances
Exhibition: Mandala, The Perfect Circle (RMA)

Thematic Sets
Ritual Object: Kila (Masterworks)
Ritual Object: Kila 'Purba' (Masterworks)
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Sculpture (Gallery 1)
RMA: Ritual Objects
Ritual Object: Kila 'Purba' Main Page
Collection of RMA: Best of Collection 3
Collection of RMA: Ritual & Decorative Masterworks
Collection of Jourdan-Barry