Himalayan Art Resources

Ritual Object: Vajra with Faces

Vajra with Faces | Vajra & Bell Main Page

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Vajras with Faces Description (below)
- Human Face
- Raksha Face
- Animal Face
- Masterworks
- Confusions
- Others...

The two objects of a vajra scepter and bell are the main tantric Buddhist ritual implements along with a string of prayer beads (mala). The bell generally depicts the face of Prajnaparamita above the bell cup and below the prongs or tines of the handle. The vajra scepter does not typically or textually, from an Indian or Tibetan religious textual tradition, display any faces. The vajras appear to have been made as single objects without the pairing of a matching bell. The meaning and origin of theses vajras with animal and wrathful faces remains a mystery but it might be suggested that they are a product of the Tangut Kingdom (Xixia) of North China situated in the modern Gansu Province.

Jeff Watt 1-2017 [updated June 2018]