The word "Kapala" is a Sanskrit term meaning 'skull, bowl, or vessel,' and is a highly decorated human skull. It serves as a ritual libation vessel in both Hindu and Buddhist Tantra for a vast number of Vajrayana deities. They are typically carved and/or embellished with elaborately mounted jewels, stones, and precious metals. Kapalas are made from human skulls that have been collected at "sky burial" sites; an ancient Tibetan 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 Tibetan Kapala Mask is in excellent condition. These masks are often made using a turtle shell; however, this one is made from a human calvarium/skull cap. It has been expertly decorated with gorgeous Tibetan silver embellishments. It is a fascinating example of master craftsmanship. This Kapala Mask is fully intact, with no missing pieces. This beautiful piece would make a stunning addition to any collection.
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