Ascetic Master, probably a Mahasiddha
Brass with pigment
H. 4 3/4 in. (12.1 cm); W. 3 in. (7.6 cm); D. 2 1/4 in. (5.7 cm)
Purchase, Florence and Herbert Irving Gift and funds from various donors, 2004
A dramatically poised Indian yogi kneels on a flayed buffalo skin and holds aloft a skull cup. He is likely the mahasiddha Kapalapa (“Skull-cup Bearer”), one of the Indian eccentric yogis and practitioners of Tantrism so revered in the Tibetan Vajrayana tradition. This icon likely portrays a Dzogchen master of the Nyingma order who practiced as an ascetic yogi.
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