19th C. Tibetan Wood Festival Mask – Mahakala
Central Asia, Tibet, ca. late 19th to early 20th century CE. A wonderful example of a hand-carved wooden festival mask of a sizable form. The fierce countenance is comprised of bulging hemispherical eyes beneath flaming brows, a furrowed nose with delineated nostrils, a gaping mouth filled with huge fangs, large ears with drooping lobes, and a corkscrew beard. Centered on the forehead is a third eye and a crown replete with five stylized human skulls representing the five Bodhisattvas, and traces of red, yellow, blue, and white pigment are visible around the front. The deity depicted is Mahakala, the god known as the “Great Black One” or “Great Time.” Time is believed to be the destroyer of all things in Tibetan mythology and is therefore symbolic of death and destruction. Size: 13.375″ W x 15.25″ H (34 cm x 38.7 cm); 20.625″ H (52.4 cm) on included custom stand.
Provenance: private Hawaii, USA collection; ex-private Hawaii, USA collection