Human skull cup and lid

Contributed by Oriental Museum Durham

Human skull cup and lid

Vessels such as this were used in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries as part of the rituals to appease fierce deities. Often the remains used to make ritual items were left by high lamas to their monastery for that very purpose.

An artefact of this nature - one that serves as a reminder of the transient nature of existence - cannot fail to inspire the observer to delve more into its reasons for being, its creation and its purpose. For this to happen, the observer must consider the use of human remains in its creation. This in turn compels the observer to question their own beliefs and feelings about death. To consider this skull-cup a masterpiece is not only testament to its aesthetic beauty but also to its place in a culture rich in history, tradition and belief.

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1800-1899 CE


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