If you’re still stuck trying to find a costume for Halloween, get some spine-chilling inspiration from the terrifying masks, wrathful deities, and other spooky objects currently on display at the Museum. Beyond the tranquil statues of buddhas and serene bodhisattvas, our galleries host an impressive array of objects that might scare your socks off!
Come haunt our galleries during Halloween weekend to learn more about the long history of masks, or get ideas for a ghoulish or grisly costume of your own:
The demon Lakhe belongs to the dangerous world of the rakshasa demons from Indian mythology. He is a hideous monster with a large red face, skin that oozes with pus, and menacing fangs. He is often depicted with a wild hairdo made of yak tails. When Lakhe appears in Buddhist ritual dances, he is ceremoniously put to death by the ultimate demon hunter, Sawa Bhakku.
Mahakala is one of the most important and fierce protectors of Mongolian Buddhism. Like a number of the other masks in Becoming Another, this mask of Mahakala is crowned with five skulls. His wrathful character is emphasized by the snake that winds around his topknot, his three angrily bulging eyes, and the shrieking raven that sits atop his head.
Japanese Horned Mask
The expression of this creature is more frightened than frightening, but it still offers rich inspiration for a ghostly Halloween costume! The facial expression of this Japanese mask is exaggerated in a free and cartoon-like way, and it was likely a folkloric mask used in a local village festival or ceremony.
This fierce figure is a guardian of the Buddhist religion. Ancient texts explain that he resides in a red copper castle surrounded by red mountains, red valleys, and red rivers—a landscape evoked by the formations at the base of the sculpture. Dressed as a warrior, he brandishes a lance in his raised hand and holds a heart, which he tore from an enemy.
This finely carved sculpture depicts the Indian goddess Shri Devi, whose violent appearance is actually a manifestation of her boundless compassion. In her impressive arsenal of magical weapons, Shri Devi holds a bag of diseases and a ball of thread, which can be used to bind enemies of the faith.
This Halloween, discover Japanese folk tales like the stories of the Fox woman and the Hannya demon mask during a special FREE tour of Becoming Another: The Power of Masks from 3-4pm.
Already have plans for the holiday? Join us the night before for our free pre-Halloween K2 Friday Night on October 30, when the Museum will be open until 10:00 p.m. You can browse our galleries to spot the objects above and then stop by the K2 Lounge for spooky cocktails like “The Thirsty Ghost” and “The Wrathful Deity.” Bring drinks down to our theater at 9:30 p.m. for a screening of the horror film classic Night of the Living Dead.
No matter how you choose to celebrate, have a happy (and spooky) Halloween!