Tibet, ca. 19th century CE. A fascinating religious item made by Tibetan Buddhist monks using the skulls of other Tibetan monks. A human head - normally one that has died of natural causes - is soaked in water to soften the bone and remove all the fleshy components, then decorative elements added. In the case of this very fine example, dozens of small silver skull appliques were attached the rim of the skull and a silver liner added to the interior. The skull was cut and hinged to reveal a silver bowl used to offer wine or small cakes to the spirits. It sits on a decorative brass stand and is fitted with a matching brass cover with a vajra handle. A fine example! Size: 6.5" L x 6.5" W x 10.625" H (16.5 cm x 16.5 cm x 27 cm)
Note: this item underwent XRF (x-ray fluorescence) testing. The liner is composed of 97% silver, the skulls 72% silver, and the stand is brass.
Provenance: private Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA collection
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