Tibetan prayer wheel, gilt silver, 18th–19th century; in the Seattle (Washington) Art Museum.—Courtesy of the Seattle Art Museum, Washington, Eugene Fuller Memorial Collection
In Tibetan Buddhism, a mechanical device used as an equivalent to the recitation of a mantra. The prayer wheel consists of a hollow metal cylinder, often beautifully embossed, mounted on a rod and containing a consecrated paper bearing a mantra. Each turn of the wheel by hand is considered equivalent to orally reciting the prayer. Variants to the handheld prayer wheel are large cylinders that can be set in motion by hand or attached to windmills or waterwheels and thus kept in continuous motion.