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Picking a Bone …

March 12, 2016 2 min read

Picking a bone ….

Not exactly any bone.

But a Kapala bone. A bone from the skull of a deceased Buddhist Lamaji. Under the assumption that his wisdom and powers will pass on to the next user!

This is an old practice in Tibet and bone objects of many types are used in ceremonies and  rituals.


So as I rummaged through pieces in a quarterly sorting exercise – trying to decide what to keep and what to let go of, I came across a string of meditation beads that I had bought without knowing much about it.I was attracted to it, the price was right and I bought it. I had assumed it was made of yak bone.

Today while trying to understand it better and price it subsequently for sale, I looked up references and to my alarm and subsequent delight, I learned that the piece that I was holding was a Kapala Mala!!

A string of beads with copper, brass, coral and turquoise embellishments strung together on leather – all had been rubbed down to smoothness by constant handling. The patina of the bone beads and the waxy grime spoke of years of handling. But I could never have guessed that the material was Kapala.  And so I am enjoying the fact that my old friend serendipity is shining on me again!




Here is a crisp & interesting article on this category of art.



Looking at comparative pieces elsewhere, I am reminded a poster I saw in an antique shop in Singapore “Some fools buy, other fools sell”.

Am also convinced about my ignorance now and have realised that more than anyone else it is I that needs the wisdom of the Kapala.

So instead of selling this work of art that is highly valued for the concept and the origin, I will now be using it – just like my elders used to a long time ago! Hopefully illumination will replace my ignorance through this little ritual.



March 2016







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