Tall, slender turned wood base resting on a wide foot; metal cylinder with repousse scrolls and inscription and domed metal lid with organic finial; chair with weight attached to one side of cylinder; cloth-covered paper roll (d) inside cylinder (should be removable, but is stuck inside)

Prayer Wheel, 18th-19th century

Unknown artist, expand_more

Silver, wood, and paperexpand_more

Gift of Ruth and Bruce Daytonexpand_more  99.124.4a-d

In Tibetan Buddhism, prayer wheels are akin to rosaries, imbued with a powerful belief in the meditative repetition of sacred syllables, sounds, and prayers. A prayer surrounds the silver cylinder, while inside is a long, tightly rolled paper scroll printed with prayers and invocations. As the wheel spins with the aid of a suspended weight, the printed prayers are “sent out” with each revolution. The wheel’s rotation equates to the reading or reciting of each invocation inside the cylinder. Though Tibetans of every social rank use prayer wheels, the unusually large size of this one suggests it belonged to an upper-class individual or, more likely, a monastery.

Details
Title
Prayer Wheel
Role
Artist
Accession Number
99.124.4a-d
Curator Approved

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Tall, slender turned wood base resting on a wide foot; metal cylinder with repousse scrolls and inscription and domed metal lid with organic finial; chair with weight attached to one side of cylinder; cloth-covered paper roll (d) inside cylinder (should be removable, but is stuck inside)