The Journey

Monk's Mendicant Staff

  • 50
  • Tibet
  • Late 19th or early 20th century
  • Metal and wood
  • H. 57 x W. 5 1/2 in. (144.8 x 14 cm)
  • Newark Museum, Purchase 1980, The Members' Fund, 80.285G

A mendicant staff, along with a ceremonial begging bowl, is one of the few possessions of an ordained Buddhist monk. While its form is saturated with lofty symbolism, it also serves some practical functions for the pilgrim: as a walking stick or even as an alarm—jangling the metal rings can scare off wild animals or attract almsgivers (who receive merit for their offerings). At the top of this staff is a silver stupa-like form. This sits above a gold stupa form, which is surrounded by four curved sides.

PHOTO CREDIT: Richard Goodbody, Newark Museum

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