Tibet, 19th Century
Photo Courtesy of Bowers Museum
The beauty of this prayer wheel – with its delicately carved decoration and slender ivory handle – suggests an important owner, most likely one of the Dalai Lamas. The gilt silver cylinder once held thousands of individual inscriptions, each a mantra written in the tiniest of letters. The mediator held the prayer wheel, and during countless rotations of the wheel, repeatedly changed the mantra. In this way, he sent out thousands of prayers, each calling for universal compassion for all living beings.
Detail: close up
all images and text © Bowers Museum and Tibet Museum