This object is in collection
Abstract: This thesis examines the changing role of the
kapala, or skull cup, in the visual and material culture of
Tantra. The transformation of the skull cup is related to the historical and religious
conditions of its various ritual settings and applications in the region of northern India
and Tibet. These cups are seen in depictions of terrifying or wrathful Tibetan Buddhist
deities and ... read moreassociated with the Tantric/esoteric practices of their devotees. My paper
explores the transformation of the skull cup from an object employed for its inherent
quality of pollution in a marginal setting of the early centuries CE to its doctrinal and
institutional value in Tibetan Buddhism of recent centuries. Integrating art historical and
religious scholarship, I explore the history of skull cups and their refinement as well as
their iconological resonances in Tibetan religious paintings and the arts of esoteric
Thesis (M.A.)--Tufts University, 2011.
Submitted to the Dept. of Art and Art History.
Advisor: Ikumi Kaminishi.
Committee: Joseph Walser, and Peter Probst.
Keywords: Art History, and Religion.read less