Vajra bell

This is one of a pair of Javanese bells. A talon-like vajra sits atop the bronze handle. Lotus petals decorate the base, and the faces encircling the the bell above them depict Prajnaparamita, the bodhisattva aspect of “Perfection of Wisdom.”
Artist Unknown, Indonesia, Java
16th century - 17th century
The vajra is a Buddhist symbol representing a thunderbolt and the diamond. The thunderbolt is meant to recall the lightning strike experience of enlightenment the historical Buddha experienced while meditating under a bodhi tree, while the diamond indicates indestructibility. Combined with a bell, symbolic of the womb, the vajra bell signifies the indestructible rooting out of ignorance. The bell, with its hollow form, symbolizes wisdom acknowledging emptiness, while the clapper vocalizes the very sound of emptiness. Some Buddhist deities are depicted holding vajra in one hand and bell in the other, indicating a union of the forces of compassion (vajra) and wisdom (bell), as well as male and female. The five prongs of the vajra remind the practitioner of the five wisdoms: wisdom of individuality, mirror-like wisdom, reality wisdom, wisdom of equanimity, and all-accomplishing wisdom.
Museum Purchase
1957/2.54
Saturday, August 13, 2022