Uncanny Artist Ephemera and Objects for Artists and Collectors
  • Tibetan Skull Prayer Bead Mala

    This is a Tibetan Skull Prayer Bead Mala (bracelet) with 15 double skulls, which represent the impermanence of life and the limits of human knowledge.  Skull-shaped beads help chanters reflect upon the inevitability of death and the necessity of embracing lives filled with compassion.  Hand carved in yak bone, the material emphasizes the skull's symbolism and honors the beasts of burden that serve mankind and inspire devotees to serve their fellowman.  Each bead has the characteristic style of elongated, rectangular back to back skulls; ; large, open eye sockets which go through the bead; incised line nasal cavity; wide, grinning mouth with lined teeth; and notches above and to the sides of the eye sockets.  No two beads are alike in details or size, although they are all about 0.5" (13mm) long by 0.3125" (8mm) wide with a 0.0625" (2mm) hole.  The beads have been strung on an ivory-colored cotton cord with a 2" (51mm) tassel.  Maker and age of the beads are unknown, but it is believed that the beads are contemporary.  This Tibetan Skull Prayer Bead Mala is in Like New condition.