The Lance with Five Points
Place of Origin: Tibet
Date: 17th-18th century
An important five-bladed spearhead from Tibet, which matches the description of a spear in Nebesky-Wojkowitz’s classic book, Oracles and Demons of Tibet: The Cult and Iconography of the Tibetan Protective Deities de. The 1975 Graz edition (page 15) contains a discussion of weapons carried by protective deities and the list contains ‘the lance with five points’.
There appears to be no other similar spear known, and so it is plausible that this is the one and the same mentioned by Nebesky-Wojkowitz. It was likely made to place in the chapel of a protective deity, where arms and armour were often deposited as votive objects. Nebesky-Wojkowitz also identifies the term of ‘mdung’ to describe the lances used by oracles.
The five, near identical blades, take the general form of a spearhead in the Metropolitan museum, see LaRocca, P.176, it is also relatively flat in profile, double edged with a slight medial ridge and rounded tip. The five spear heads are decorated on a dark background with striking gold flames, and ju-i shaped clouds sit at the base of each blade; each is connected to a square section arm which is covered in sheet silver and all merge into a faceted gilt knop where it joins a two-stage russet iron socket.
My thanks to Donald La Rocca for pointing out the Nebesky-Wojkowitz reference.