Place of Origin: Tibet
Date: 17th -18th Century
Overall Length: 740mm
This rare and mesmerising ritual trident (or ‘Trisula-Rtse Gsum’) features at its centre a thick double-edged flaming sword, golden wisps of fire rising along the blade’s central ridge before erupting dramatically from its edges, the steel hammered and pierced to convey a trellis of fiery swirls. This decoration repeats on the four smaller arms of the trident, each attached with a tear-shaped talisman at its base. A striking gilt-copper skull forms the centre of the arrangement, the tubular socket fitted to a contemporary wooden shaft painted red and mounted on a black steel base.
Such tridents were of great spiritual importance to Tibetan rituals and used in divination ceremonies by high-ranking oracles. They would also have originally been installed as part of a panoply of arms and armour at a shrine devoted to a dharampalas.
A near-identical trident is preserved at the Guimet Museum in Paris (No. M15918) and a similar example was exhibited by Runjeet Singh in Arms & Armour from the East 2017 (Cat. No. 10).
Jean Claude Moreau-Gobard
The Andrault Collection