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kapala (कपाल)

Sanskrit. ‘Skull’, ‘cranium’, ‘cup’, or ‘alms bowl’. Name for a ritual bowl made from a human skull, and in iconography used as an attribute of several Hindu and Mahayana Buddhist deities, especially in Lamaism, Tantrism and Vajrayana Buddhism, typically in their wrathful and ferocious appearances, including Mahakala (fig.), the Red Dakini (fig.), Vajrayogini, Magzor Gyalmo (fig.), with whom it is usually filled with human blood. This ritual implements were often carved or elaborately mounted with precious metals and jewels, and used especially in Tibet.