Initiation crown with skulls

DATE:
18th–19th century
MATERIAL AND TECHNIQUE:
Gilt, paint, and leather
CLASSIFICATION:
Costume
DIMENSIONS:
Overall: 10 31/32 x 23 x 1/4 in. (27.9 x 58.4 x 0.6 cm.)
DEPARTMENT:
Arts of Asia
LOCATION:
304 SNAIL GALLERY
CREDIT LINE:
Dallas Museum of Art, gift of David T. Owsley via the Alconda-Owsley Foundation
OBJECT NUMBER:
2000.405

General Description

Crowns or headdresses like this example are used in Tibetan Buddhist rituals. They are worn by young men during initiation ceremonies when they are accepted as monks in a Tibetan monastery, or during ritual chanting or monastic ritual dances. The five skulls act as reminders of the transience of human life and emphasize the teaching that a Buddhist must transcend fear of death and attachment to life in order to escape the cycle of reincarnation.

Adapted from

  • Label text, Anne Bromberg, 2006.

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