Spear (Mdung)

Date: 17th–19th century

Culture: Tibetan

Medium: Iron, gold, silver, wood, pigment

Dimensions: L. 53 1/4 in. (135.3 cm); L. of spearhead 15 5/8 in. (39.7 cm)

Classification: Shafted Weapons

Credit Line: Purchase, Kenneth and Vivian Lam Gift, and Funds from Various Donors, 2004

Accession Number: 2004.340a, b


The decoration on the spearhead and shaft indicate that this spear was intended for ritual use, probably by an oracle. The spearhead is damascened in gold and silver with the motif known as "dry skulls," surrounded by stylized intestines. These are among the attributes of the fierce guardian deities and would be appropriate for a weapon intended for the chapel of such a deity, or for an oracle acting as a medium for one.