Ritual iron hook inlaid with gold
  See it in the Museum
Orientation 3
Display 5

ABR 063

 Code: ABR 063

  Country: Tibet


  Date: 1700 - 1800

  Dimensions in cm WxHxD: 7.5 x 12.5 x 1.5

  Materials: Iron

Ritual hook

This iron hook with numerous traces of gilding springs from the mouth of a makara, an Indian mythical creature associated with the crocodile. The hook is decorated with gilded flame and plant ornaments suggesting the creature's tongue. Behind the head, the object ends in an elaborately crafted ring.

This hook was originally attached to a lasso, the other end holding a half vajra or a ring. This ritual weapon is often associated with the hook the mahouts use to goad elephants. Symbolically, the lasso is used to subdue the "angry elephant" of the mind and to guide it to its true nature during practice. In wrathful rituals it is used to bind and neutralise negative energies.

In addition to being an attribute of certain protective deities, the lasso, together with the hook, the iron chain and the bell, belongs to the weapons of the four female gatekeepers, who are depicted with these attributes in every mandala.