A Large Bronze Purbhu
Tibet, 16th Century
The iron tripartite blade issuing from the fangs of a makara with snakes winding down the sides, the central part cast over an iron armature with a vajra between endless knots in openwork, surmounted by the three-headed Mahakala with skull tiara and half-vajra finial
26 5/8 in. (67.6 cm.) high
Acquired in 1993, New York
Large purbhu such as this would have been placed on a tantric shrine, or placed in the center of a three-dimensional mandala during initiation rituals and consecrations.