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Vessel in the Form of a Skull Cup
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Vessel in the Form of a Skull Cup


Description Exhibitions Provenance Inscription Credit
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.
Exhibitions
  • 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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Creator
Period
1404
Medium
copper alloy
(Metal)
Accession Number
54.3107
Measurements
H: 3 1/16 × W: 5 1/16 × D: 3 9/16 in. (7.8 × 12.8 × 9.1 cm)
Geographies
  • Nepal (Place of Origin)
Location Within Museum
Not On View

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