1925 photo of a Tibetan skeleton dancer


I’m not saying it was aliens. But it was aliens.

Afterthought: I like the heart at the center of the chest. Didn’t realize the symbol was so widespread, and in use for far longer than expected.

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I’m assuming this is a depiction of some variety of Heruka, a type of “Wrathful Deity”, divine/enlightened beings in Buddhist legend that took on fierce appearances in order to act as protectors and fulfil an apotropaic role. I think this particular variety is a “Kinkara”, but I’m not certain.

Followed the link to the tumblr. Cool images.

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Also, if you twist the right parts, he transforms into Golden Dragon Autobot.


Seems so long ago, yet my grandmother was 7 when the photo was taken. Had she been in Thailand she could well have remembered that guy’s dance and describe it today.

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That is a hell of a great photo image!

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I agree. I’m very interested in the history of this symbol now. I assume, very specifically, it is representing the dancer’s heart in this case.

Last year I went to the Choni (Zhuoni) monastery in Gansu where this photo was taken. It is now in a forbidden area and I was arrested and kicked out of town, but not before I managed to get a few pictures of this ghostly place - it is now almost deserted. I wrote about it on my blog In the Footsteps of Joseph Rock

Nice blog. Have bookmarked for further reading. Pinks hate spiritualism. Party dogma rules absolute. Thanks for posting.

I do think it’s a very very old symbol. Old like Mohenjo-daro. Also, it’s the heart of a skeleton, so that’s cool.

The image is not a depiction of Heruka. It is just a skeleton. A Heruka mask is quite different. The accompanying dance that goes with this costuming can be seen in the background of this image . The monks from Drepung Loseling along with other smaller monasteries perform these sacred dances for non-buddhist audiences though entertainment and cultureal events.

I think it is very unusual that there is a heart on the center of the skeleton’s sternum. The heart is not a Tibetan symbol, has no meaning attached to it in Tibetan or buddhist culture and I have never seen one on the many skeleton costumes I have seen. It almost looks like it had been added when the tinting was done.

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