OAs 06959

Please find more information about the object below the image.

Producer unknown to us

Ritual object (Vajra)

Asia, China / Mongolia

18th century

Bronze, cast

Hermann Speck von Sternburg (diplomat)

Purchased by the museum from von Sternburg in 1909

OAs 06959

The Vajra (in Tibetan: Rdo-rje) is one of the key ritualistic objects in esoteric Vajrayana Buddhism. Often referred to as thunderbolt or diamond scepter, this ritualistic object is associated with the radiance and strength of diamonds, symbolizing their indestructible spiritual purity. It is most commonly depicted as an attribute of wrathful Buddhist deities, but it is also associated with some Buddha and Bodhisattva forms.

The collector, Hermann Freiherr Speck von Sternburg (1852–1908), was a German diplomat who worked at the Imperial Legation in Beijing from 1891 to 1897. As the son of a wealthy Leipzig merchant family, he possessed the necessary financial means to pursue his passion for collecting Chinese art on a grand scale during his time in the Chinese capital.

After his untimely death in 1908, the museum acquired those parts of the collection that were already in the GRASSI Museum Leipzig from Hermann Speck von Sternburg’s widow, Lilian May Langham, a total of more than 500 objects.

Dietmar Grundmann