1800s or earlier
Bronze handle terminates in a symbolic thunderbolt and lower part of the handle is cast in the form of a “makara” (mythical sea creature) whose open mouth and exposed fangs form part of the element for securing the disk-like blade, the upper-side of which is encased in bronze. The handle has a slightly mottled brownish patina with some small areas of verdigris near one end of the part encasing the blade. The blade is considerably oxidized on both sides and is dull and probably never sharp because it was used in a ritual representing the flaying of flesh and not for the actual purpose. The flayer or chopper is often seen in Tibetan Buddhist sculpture, carried in the hands and brandished by angry deities. The symbolic purpose was to chop up disbelievers, but more significantly, it was considered to be the instrument for cutting through the fog of spiritual ignorance.
Height: 6 7/8 in.; Width: 6 ¾ in.