This is a Mahakala mask. Mahakala is regarded as the protector of Buddhist monasteries and three statues of him were renowned to have showed up at the same time in three different monasteries bearing close resemblance in style, symbolism and depiction. Of the three Mahakala brothers, one had six arms, another four arms and the third has two arms. Each of these statues protect different branches of Buddhism.
The commonest representation of Mahakala (literally meaning the "Great Black One") is the mask form as accurately represented by this mask. The sculpting of the mask is indicative of most Tibetan masks, with its smooth surface and extensive use of colors.
This Mahakala mask is replete with symbolisms of Mahakala, the protector of the Buddhist monasteries. First, the crown of five skulls represent the transformation of five human ills into five virtues: Ignorance is transmuted into the wisdom of Reality; Pride is transformed into the wisdom of Sameness; Attachment becomes the wisdom of Discernment; Jealousy evolves into the wisdom of Achievement; and Anger is turned into the wisdom of Reflection.
Mahakala's depiction as glaring represents his displeasure at the state of the world. His brows, moustache and beard of blazing fire connotes the powerful energy with which he will consume unclean mental pursuits. His three eyes connotes his ability to see into the past, present and future. The sharp teeth show his power to consume his enemies.
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