Kapala (skull bowl)

Historical period(s)
19th century
Gilded copper with turquoise and coral, inset with human skull
H x Diam: 22.9 x 15.2 cm (9 x 6 in)
Eastern Tibet or Mongolia
Credit Line
The Alice S. Kandell Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Metalwork, Vessel


Alice S. Kandell Collection, Buddhism, Tibet

Alice S. Kandell, purchased in Sikkim, India [1]

From 2017
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, gift of Alice S. Kandell [2]

[1] According to curatorial notes from around 2009, Kandell purchased this object in Sikkim. See curatorial notes titled “AK Shrine Checklist,” undated (ca. 2009), p. 11, catalogue number VI-10 (new cat. no. VI-9), copy in object file. During the 1960s, Alice Kandell made multiple trips to Sikkim, India where she acquired objects as gifts or through purchase. See section titled “Collection AK/Sikkim - Alice Kandell, New York City” in the notes titled “Alice Kandell Exhibition (March 2010) Provenance Draft Notes,” dated July 19, 2009, p. 9, copy in object file.

Alice S. Kandell is a private collector, who for decades acquired hundreds of bronze sculptures, thangkas, textile banners, painted furniture and ritual implements. Her interest in Tibetan art and culture began during her college years, when she took the first of many trips to Sikkim, Tibet and Ladakh. Throughout her career as a child psychologist in New York, she continued to pursue her love of Tibetan Buddhist sacred art, traveling, collecting and documenting the art and culture of the region in two books of photography, “Sikkim: The Hidden Kingdom” (Doubleday) and “Mountaintop Kingdom: Sikkim” (Norton).

[2] See Deed of Gift, dated December 12, 2017, copy in object file.

Research Completed December 6, 2022

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Alice S. Kandell

Published References
  • Marylin M. Rhie, Robert A.F. Thurman. A Shrine for Tibet: The Alice S. Kandell Collection. New York and London. VI-9, 243.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
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