Masks of the World


Special Mahakala mask from Himalayas

Q:  I purchased this mask 20 years ago in an antique shop here in Portugal. I have taken good care of it, it looks +/- as it did at the time of purchase. It has a seal on the inside. The gold paint has been painted over  what used to be yellow. I was under the impression it was a Thai mask but after checking your website I believe it might be Balinese?  Duarte, 1337

A:  Mahakalas come in many styles. This larger one with its mustache and other interesting details is not like any I have seen before. It may have been used in culture because no attempt at antiquing has been made for sale to tourists. The red wax seal means it’s from Nepal and is probably over 50 years old. Try to contact a dealer in Himalayan traditional art for an expert’s opinion. The chance of authenticity will increase its value.

Categories:   India & Himalayas


  • Posted: April 12, 2018 12:09


    Very interesting Bob. I have had it for more than 20 years and knew almost nothing about it. Most strange that it only has 3 skulls in the crown instead of 5. I will investigate :)
    • Posted: April 16, 2018 15:02


      That's probably because this could be not Mahakala, but a Sacred Boar usually accompanying the lion-headed dakini in the Cham dance of Tibet. It usually has only three skulls. However, this is just a guess.
  • Posted: April 16, 2018 16:20


    I think you are right Andrey. I believe this is actually the Tibetan Singue (Snow Lion). Those are consistently represented with 3 skulls instead of standart 5. I found one that matches the look here:
  • Posted: April 16, 2018 19:55

    Bob Ibold

    Thank you both for the excellent research.

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