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Lot 0077A
Central Asia, Tibet, ca. early 20th century CE. A fabulous and macabre kapala made from the top of a human skull, likely from an individual around twenty years of age. The top of the skull displays a highly-detailed image of Ushnishavijaya Namgyalma, a Buddha of longevity and part of a trio of long-life Buddhas along with Amitayus and Sitatara. The deity is seated in the Padmasana position atop a lotus base with two hands held together in a meditative praying pose and twelve others either empty or holding one of the instruments associated with the deity. The goddess is enclosed by a series of incised meandering patterns in low-relief. The kapala, or ritual drinking cup or bowl fashioned from human or animal skulls, are used in both Hinduism and Tantric (Vajrayana) Buddhism, and the translation for kapala in Sanskrit is "skull." Many kapala are decorated with elaborate carvings to the bone surface by softening the bone in water and then cutting with a sharpened tool. Lucite display stand for photography purposes only. Size: 4.875" W x 7.625" H (12.4 cm x 19.4 cm).

Provenance: private Newport Beach, California, USA collection

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Surface wear and abrasions commensurate with age, light fading to some carved details, and some darkening to peripheries and carved surfaces, otherwise intact and excellent. Light earthen deposits throughout.

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20th C. Tibetan Kapala w/ Ushnishavijaya Namgyalma

Estimate $800 - $1,200Jul 19, 2018