Collection Online

Mahakala, dance mask
(20th century)

31.0 × 18.1 × 14.8 cm
Place/s of Execution
Accession Number
Asian Art
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, 2006
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of The Gordon Darling Foundation
Gallery location
Not on display
Physical description
The Mahakala mask is carved from wood, and includes elements such as the grinning skulls that are seen on many Tibetan works of art, and indicate the transitory nature of the world of the senses. The face is carved in a ferocious expression appropriate to the role of Mahakala as a protective deity, with large, distinctive features that clearly convey the character and his nature. The work is deceptively simple, yet energetic and balanced, and has great presence.