India (Jammu and Kashmir, ancient kingdom of Kashmir)
Copper alloy, possibly brass
H. 7 5/8 in. (19.4 cm); W. 5 1/4 in. (13.3 cm); D. 2 3/8 in. (6 cm)
Purchase, Bobbie Falk Gift, in honor of Robert Falk, 2013
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 237
This object is from a rare group of early Brahmanical masks. The small fangs seen rising from the corners of the open mouth and the exposed upper teeth identify this deity as Bhairava, a wrathful form of Shiva. Such masks were employed as temporary fixtures during worship and used to enliven processional icons in the Brahmanical cultures of northwestern India and the territories of Gandhara in Pakistan.
Provenace: Ex-Peter Cochrane Coll., London (1913-2004), acq. London prior to 1970, On offer from John Siudmak, London,