Very Fine Antique Tibetan Citipati Mask

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  • $1,900


A Fine and Rare Antique Tibetan Skull Mask. Used in Citipati ritual dances, this masks dates from circa 1900. Well patinaed copper with a typical bound cotton padding on the interior. Truly a remarkable pieces and a excellent addition to any collection.

The Citipati were a couple of ascetics meditating near a graveyard. In their deep state of meditation, they did not notice a thief who had sneaked up on them. The thief beheaded them and threw them into the dirt, which caused them to reach the next stage of ascetic practices. Infuriated by the act, the Citipati swore vengeance to the thief and became the archenemy of thieves and other criminals.
The Citipati cannot leave cemeteries and can only grab thieves passing through them. While waiting for criminals, the Citipati pass their time by dancing and blowing horns, a ritual reenacted by Tibetan monks twice annually. Their dancing also serves as a symbol for death and rebirth, for the Citipati consist of both halves of the human body, male and female. Their skeletal form is a reminder of the impermanence of life and eternal change.
The Citipati is a protector of graveyards and is known as Lord of the Cemetery or Lord of the Crematorium. The Citipati implied warning to Tantrism clearly, and it is thought that it became one of opportunities when Tibetan Buddhism parted from Tantrism or Guhyasamāja Tantra. In Mahayana Buddhism, the Citipati could be interpreted in both of "Śīla Pāramitā" and "Dhyāna pāramitā", but was interpreted it as "Śīla pāramitā" and was placed Mahakala as Deva.

Measures: 11"hx8.5"wx3"Thank you for your interest in my curated selection of rare and unusual pieces! We have taken pride for over 20 years in our excellent reputation, and strive to satisfy our clients' exact needs. Please note that we take great care in accurately describing our items, and we support that with a money back guarantee. If you receive a product that is not as described, we will promptly refund the cost once the item has been returned in good order. If you have any questions or require further images/information in order to make a decision please do not hesitate to contact us.