Prayer Wheel

A small metal cylinder with a raised portion in the middle and writing on the side. It is sitting on a brass tray.
Prayer Wheel from the Eldon House collection

Country of Origin: Tibet
Year: 1897
Materials: Metal 

Prayer wheels originate from China and Tibet in the 4th century as part of a Buddhist prayer tradition. The wheels are typically made of metal, wood, or stone, and have a prayer or mantra carved on the outside. The phrase can vary, though there are some common ones. The wheels are attached to a handle, often made of wood, and are then spun by the handler. The idea is that you are spinning the wheel of Dharma, which are the principles of existence, or that it is a way to recite prayers silently.

The Harris Family likely picked this piece up on their tour to Tibet in 1897. The piece is missing the handle.