Chitipati – Skull Figures

Whilst visiting the Richard Harris ‘Death-A self Portrait’ exhibit in London I was particularly entranced by a small statue of Chitipati (labelled as Shri Chitipati). It was roughly a 1.5 foot tall wood carving of two figures, skeletons with grinning skulls and glaring eyes. I simply loved it.

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After the exhibit I researched more into the history of Chitipati on Himalayan Art.org to find that these guys actually depict a father and mother of the Charnel Ground, an area where bodies are left to decompose uncovered. This painting (1400-1499) below was provided with the article which I recommend reading as there are so many things going on in this image than first meets the eye. For instance the area, what looks like part of a large circle is a canopy of human ribs. Fascinating stuff.

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