Ritual Peg, Kila

​This exquisitely crafted three-sided ritual dagger (Tibetan: phur ba; Sanskrit: kila) was never used in battle, but was still an effective weapon in esoteric meditation and ritual practices. In connection with visualization techniques, it has the power to pin down and annihilate negative energies, hindrances, evil forces, and, ultimately, all forms of attachment to one’s ego.

Although ritual daggers can vary in their form, the handle and the blade are said to combine transcendent wisdom and skillful means, respectively. The triple blades arranged around the central axis of the dagger symbolize mastery over the three realms of desire, form, and formlessness.

Frightening imagery such as the fang-bearing heads of wrathful Hayagriva on the dagger’s top and Garuda sinking its teeth in to the dagger’s blade, especially when amplified through tantric visualizations, are said to empower the practitioner and the blade with the essence of wrathful deities. Hindering spirits can then be nailed down and subdued, allowing a sacred space to be established.

Geographic Origin
Iron and gilt brass

13 x 2 x 2 in. estimated

Rubin Museum of Art
C2005.16.66, (HAR 65489)
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