Description Shaped like the upper portion of a human skull, this metal vessel was made for tantric Buddhist rituals involving the use of a skull cup to prepare and consume a sacred liquid identified with the nectar of enlightened bliss. Three feet in the form of skulls support the vessel; they relate to the imagery visualized during the preparation of the nectar, in which the cup sits upon a triangular fire with a head at each corner. Three more heads mark the rim of the vessel, a Newar convention. A Nepalese inscription around the body of the cup records its consecration in the year Samvat 524 (1404 C.E.) in honor Chakrasamvara, a wrathful male deity who would be invoked during the cup’s ritual use.
- Ferocious Beauty: Wrathful Deities from Tibet and Nepal. 2016-2017.
Provenance Acquired by Ian Alsop; purchased by John and Berthe Ford, Baltimore, June 10 1970; given to Walters Art Museum, 2016.
Inscriptions [Date] samvat 524; [Date] 1404; [Inscription] Partially illegible: ...consecrated in honor of Shakrasamvara and...
Credit Gift of John and Berthe Ford, 2016
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