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Buddhist prayer wheel, Tibet, 1601-1900

Thousands of prayers written on a long tightly rolled scroll of paper are within this Buddhist prayer wheel. The prayer scroll is coiled around a rotating central spindle. It is within a casing of silver and ivory. This casing is covered with traditional carvings depicting the Buddha. Tibetan Buddhists believe rotating the prayer wheel while reciting a positive sentiment or wish known as mantra releases the prayers and combats negativity. Buddhism is a religion originating from India. It promotes ethical and unselfish behaviour. Prayer wheels such as this are still used. They are an important part of the Buddhist faith.

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Glossary: Buddhism

A belief system or religion originally from India and based on the teachings of Siddharta Guatama, known as ‘The Buddha’, who died about 400 BCE. It requires ethical and unselfish behaviour.

Glossary: prayer wheel

Cylindrical box often wooden, usually vertically mounted with external inscription or containing a mantra script. Used as an aid to meditation, with each revolution of the box being equal to the reciting of the religious text. Used in Buddism and common in Tibet.