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~ Click here for detail photos ~
 

This mask is the visage of Chitipati - an important character in Tantric Buddhist dances or "cham" as they are known.  The Chitipati is also one of the best known and sought after characters in the mask repertoire of the Monpa people, whose homeland lies in the remote modern Indian state, Arunachal Pradesh. This area is a high Himalayan region bordering Tibet and Bhutan.

This particular mask comes with a special "accoutrement", just as it was actually used in the Monpa village. I am referring to the wooden phallus seen in the shot below.  The masked dancer would tease female members of the audience with this prop.  Those who are surprised to hear that lamas may carry on in such a way during rituals should bear in mind this is tantric Buddhism after all and the Himalayan Buddhist people have never been shy about issues of sex, death or any other "taboo" topic. No pretense or false morality here... they keep it real.

 Usually seen in pairs during performances, the skeletal couple known as, Chitipati are depicted as living skeletons. Chitipati are the Lord and Lady of the charnel ground, so to speak. Their wrathful appearance, and leering grin reflect Chitipati's dual nature as important protectors that are invoked in a number of advanced tantric practices, as well as simply being tangible reminders of the transient nature of life and embodied existence. Interestingly in some important tantras the Chitipati are invoked as wealth deities.


 

ITEM NAME:   Vajrayana Buddhist - Cham dance mask Chitipati
ITEM CODE:   HMM-128
PRICE:   Email 
SHIPPING:  
STATUS:   Available
PEOPLE/REGION:    Monpa, Arunachal Pradesh

MATERIALS:   

Wood 

AGE:   

Circa 1st half 20th

SIZE:   

7" wide
10" high
wooden phalus = 8-1/2"
 

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