TYPE: A Tibetan Mahakala mask

CIRCA: 1900 (or earlier)

This beautifully hand carved wooden mask from Tibet is probably meant to depict Mahakala, a ‘Guardian of the Dharma’ in the Tibetan Buddhist pantheon. His common function is as a protector of Tibetan Buddhism and is depicted as an enraged deity who wards off negative influences. Natural vegetative or mineral colours, which have mellowed beautifully with the passing of time, were used for the painting of this particular mask, and hence has a lustrous patina and a dynamic presence. It has some ancient repairs to a crack that runs partway through it, and these ‘repairs’ can be clearly seen in the photo on the back at far right. It has been in a private collection since being acquired by a collector in Kathmandu in the mid 1970’s. [For a very similar published example see image bottom right, page 147 in the book Masks of the Himalayas and Tibet by Massimo Candellero.]

MATERIAL: PAINTED WOOD

HEIGHT: 0.42M

WIDTH: 0.31M

DEPTH: 0.16M

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