ritual accessory

Ritual horn, t'un-vra, of horn, bone, and turquoise. Horn carved in deep relief depicting two seated figures probably in prayer, with nimbus; scorpions, a chorten, a bird, probably a peacock, an elongated standing figure praying and a turtle. Inset with small pieces of turquoise. The end is carved with ridges and joined to the lip with a string which has a bone skull at each end. 235 x 55.

T’un-rva can be used in rituals of exorcism, black magic and destruction as well as for curing the ill. Typically they are carved in relief with images of poisonous creatures and sealed with a wooden stopper. Before performing any ritual, the horn is filled with magical substances – such as barley or mustard grains, or at times objects like nail clippings, written curses, the hair of an intended victim and blood can also be used. The choice of contents depends on the ritual to be performed, some rituals use “dry” fillings like seeds whilst others use “wet” fillings like blood or alcohol. Sometimes the t’un-rva is hurled towards the victim or negativity, in other instances it is hidden in the home.Sometimes t’un-rva see later use as gunpowder containers.

Collection Information

These objects are only a part of our collections, of which there are more than 350,000 objects. This information comes from our collections database. Some of this is incomplete and there may be errors. This part of the website is also still under construction, so there may be some fields repeated or incorrectly formatted information.

The database sometimes uses language taken from historical documents to help research, which may now appear outdated and even offensive. The database also includes information on objects that are considered secret or sacred by some communities.

If you have any further information about objects in our collections or can suggest corrections to our information, please contact us: enquiry@horniman.ac.uk