This decorated human skull cup, also known as a Kapala, serves as a ritual libation vessel in both Hindu and Buddhist Tantra for a vast number of Vajrayana deities. Kapalas are made from skulls that have been collected at a ‘sky burial’ site; an ancient Tibetan burial custom in which the bodies of dead monks are dismembered and scattered over open ground to give ‘alms to the birds.’ This ritual carries great religious significance, reinforcing the principle of Samsara, the cycle of repeated birth, mundane existence, and dying again. This piece has been beautifully carved, and is a fascinating example of master craftsmanship. It would make a remarkable addition to any collection.
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