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Early Tibetan Gallery



Ritual Fire Offering Device
Tibet 14-15th Century

This object was intended for use in fire rituals known in Sanskrit as homa and in Tibetan as sbyin sregs (pronounced; Jinseg). It was held over a ritual fire and liquid butter was introduced into it from another matching ladle. The butter then flowed out of the device's spout, seen at the bottom, and into the fire where it is believed that the great deity of fire offerings, Agni accepts it. Through Agni the offering then is accepted directly by the main deity of the mandala for whom the ceremony is being performed. Agni acts therefore as a conduit directly to the central deity of the mandala.

Finely damascened, a row of protective vajra powerbolts may be seen on the outer rim. At the very centre of the vessel is the triangle of origination, representing the womb from which all things emerge. It too has an erect protective vajra at its centre. Hence the butter offering, having passed through the womb is considered absolutely pure and safe. To the front of the vessel is a half vajra, acting as a protecting device and the shaft, surmounted by a vajra is joined to the vessel by a floral motif.

Length 62cm


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