As i have written before i am the proud responsible temporary owner of three Tibetan style Kapala skull cups from Nepal. These were legally brought into the country probably in the 1960s by the late importer Charles O’Hara and he had them on his attic for years. In the middle is the Kangling and the two figures are Citipatis male and female in a more Hindu form that are actually oil lamps.
Photo Copyright GLHoke 2014
Decades ago a friend and I bought three of them. Two were lined and edged in Nepalese silver (a little silver and more tin) and one the insert had come loose so it was just a plain bone Kapala. Years later my friend’s wife started freaking about it so i bought his one Kapala and a Kangling. I do not know how they were obtained in Nepal and probably don’t want to know as only Christians and Muslims are buried for “harvesting”, Hindus and Buddhists being cremated. But back in Tibet with sky burial they were readily available and the skulls of high lamas were highly prized and turned into these.
Above and Below photos Copyright V.Latta 2014
I have always known the bare bones Kapala had some western magickal purpose and have used it in the wine sacrament at All Hallows. But I have also seen this picture below of a skull carved with the SATOR square from some museum in I think England (I cannot trace it so if anyone knows where it is please let me know) and ba bang i am going to buy a dremel tool and make one of these! I will post it when it is done in a month or so. I would have liked to carve it in some more natural way but fear breaking it.
Tumblr image, and my Goal
Here is a good article on the use of Skeletons Skulls and Bones from Khadro.net.
Here is an explanation of the Skeleton Dancers and other characters in their Cham dances.
And finally a video of them dancing embedded below.
Wish me Luck!