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Antique Tibetan Bronze Phurpa
Kartika
Hayagriva Chopper

Tibet, circa: 19th Century
H 11.5" (29cm.), W 4" (10cm.), D 4" (10cm.)

Condition : Excellent!

mahakala vajra
Private Collection

 

The Knife of the Dakinis, or Kartika. The curved or scythe-like blade of the flaying knife is modeled after the animal skinner's blade. Its curved edge, which terminates in a sharp point or hook, is used to flay the flesh from human bones during a Tibetan Sky Burial. As a tantric tool, its use symbolizes division of all things into two - the cutting away of the "two veils of emotional delusion and ignorance."

When the chopper shows the figure of Hayagriva as in this ritual object, it is known as Hayagriva Chopper. The image of a horse head at the top is the distinctive mark of Hayagriva, a wrathful manifestation of Avalokiteshvara. As an attribute the kartika is held in the right hand symbolizing the dissective wisdom which cuts through and chops up all delusive appearances and reduces all things to voidness, suitable for transformation into wisdom.

Hayagriva is worshipped in Tibet by horse-dealers because he is believed to frighten away demons by neighing like a horse and the sound is said to pierce all false appearances of substantiality, revealing the shining reality of freedom.

  
  
  
  
 



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