A ceremonial Lama’s skirt carved with beads and plaques in human bone

Mainly 14th/15th century with some later replacements, Tibet

Dimensions as mounted: 84 cm x 84 cm, 33.1 inches x 33.1 inches

The bone skirt would have been attached to a textile skirt and worn with a matching vest and hat. The bone ornaments fall in a diamond pattern from the belt, the latter consisting of five main sections - three carved dakinis flanked by a pair of dancing skeletons. These are all linked by beads to four smaller dividing groups of three plaques with figurative and floral decoration. The bone skirt consists of diamond shaped plaques carved with animals, Buddhist emblems, scrolling leaves and flower heads - in four rows of five plaques linked by beads - the bottom row with mask heads from which bells dangle.

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