Happy Halloween, or Samhain, or Ancestor Night, or Day of the Dead, or whatever you want to call this day, which many cultures consider the true beginning of winter (it is the cross-quarter day between the equinox and the solstice — what in the U.S. we call the beginning of winter, December 21 or 22, is actually midwinter by this reckoning).
As everyone knows, on this day ghosts and demons come among us. The Asian’s collection contains a lot of images that are appropriate to Halloween, such as the Japanese netsuke shown above (not all are on view in the museum now, or at any given time).
Also from Japan is this dancing skeleton.
We have some fine witches, such as this one from Indonesia.
And of course we host a host of wrathful deities, such as the terrifying Penden Lhamo, the special protector of the Dalai Lamas. In this image she holds a staff and a blood-filled skull bowl as she rides a mule through a sea of blood that represents samsara, the endless cycle of birth and death.
Do you have a favorite scary image from the Asian’s collection? If so, please weigh in here.
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