Detail Photos

I love these old Tamang masks that really straddle the line between primitive, shamanic tribal masks and the Vajrayana or tantric Buddhist masks of high himalayan Tamang Buddhism. Even the term by which masks like this are known, "bompo mukhunda" further emphasize the connection and syncretism of pre-Buddhist Bon religion, Himalayan shamanism and Vajrayana Buddhism.  "Bonpo" are adherents of Bon religion, but the use of the "m" sound in place of the "n", erases a clear distinction because "bompo" literally "vase" is a colloquial expression by which Shamans are known in the upper middle hills.

All that aside, this is just an incredible mask. The linear face marking create a striking and somehow daunting quality.  The mask with a crown of primitive faces or skulls, gives clear indication that this is a protector of some kind as this is the kind of iconography we find with classic tantric Buddhist protector deities.  The old Tamang masks in this style are very difficult to find now days, and this one is a top quality example of the genre.  Truly outstanding!

Condition is good over all, but there is an old native repair to a break in the chin area.  This was a well executed repair and does not detract from the piece.  There is also minimal loss to the crown, as one of the heads is missing and another one partial. There is also some loss to the "teeth".  Again, these are clearly old, as the breaks are smoothed with age and have a patina similar to the rest of the mask. And what a patina it is... rich, deep ruddy tones, under a smooth surface sheen.  This is simply a great middle hills mask. If you are looking for the best quality... here you go.

ITEM NAME:   Himalayan Mask
PRICE:   Email 
PEOPLE/REGION:    Nepal middle hills




19th c


7" wide
13" high

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