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Goddess Vajravarahi Dancing with Chopper (karttrika) and Skullcup (kapala)

A work made of bronze with gold paint and pigment.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of bronze with gold paint and pigment.


15th century


Central Tibet

About this artwork

The goddess Vajravarahi, one of the many manifestations of Vajrayogini, a tantric female Buddha, is so called because she has a tiny sow’s head (varahi) above her right ear. The wild boar, a ferocious, aggressive animal symbolizes her relentless power to achieve liberation, overcoming all obstacles. She usually dances upon a corpse, absent here, and holds a flaying knife (kartrika) in her raised right hand and a skull cup (kapala) in her left. She is the consort to the god Samvara and is one of the few goddess-spouses to enjoy an independent cult status. She is especially revered by the Drukpas, a sub-sect of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism.


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Arts of Asia


Goddess Vajravarahi Dancing with Chopper (karttrika) and Skullcup (kapala)


Central Tibet (Influence from)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Bronze with gold paint and pigment


11.8 × 6.9 × 3.3 cm (4 5/8 × 2 11/16 × 1 5/16 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Marilynn B. Alsdorf

Reference Number


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