300-Years-Old Intricately Carved Skull: Who Can Solve The Mystery Behind It?

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A mysterious skull covered in Buddhist carvings and symbols has so far defied attempts to decipher it’s purpose or who might have created the artifact and has left experts and the public wondering what it’s purpose could be.

Mysterious carved skull defies translation

The skull was first brought to the attention of the public after being bought from a Vienna antique shop in 2011. Thought to be around 300 years old, the intricate carvings and symbols have still yet to be deciphered, and the meaning or messages of the skull are still a mystery.

The current owner of the skull was keen to find out the history of the object and asked the shopkeeper in Vienna where he acquired it. Prior to the shop, it had been owned by an individual who claimed that it belonged to their ancestor who was a doctor who had traveled through Asia. During these travels, the Doctor visited a Tibetan monastery and was given the skull as a gift in exchange for providing medical services while he was there.

The owner said of his research into the skull:

“I got this skull in March 2011 from an antique shop in Vienna, Austria. Showed it to several experts and organizations, such as the Institute for Tibetan and Buddhistic Studies in Vienna, the Museum of Natural History Vienna, and the Völkerkunde Museum. The Tibetan letters and most of the symbols got deciphered, but no one ever heard of a skull like that. Except for one Tibetan Khenpo (Monk-Professor), who said such skulls were carved a long time ago to take a curse off a family or to guide the soul of a mislead human being on the right path.” (Klemens, 2011)

If indeed the skull was created to lift a curse from a family or to guide someone onto the right path why it was given to a traveling doctor is a mystery. Aside from the historical value which it could not have had at the time the doctor acquired it, it has little intrinsic value and seems an odd choice to give someone as a gift or as payment for services.

The lettering on the skull is also disputed by several of the parties that the owner has consulted, with some maintaining that the letters are from the Tibetan Devanagari script while others that they are a much older Indian script known as Ranja.

There are also figures depicted on the skull, some of which appear to be Buddhist in origin, others Hindu, casting further ambiguity over just who might have created the item.

Given the nature of the symbols, the specific message hidden within the carvings may be forever lost to time. Although the letters and some symbols can be identified, the message behind them is still unknown. If the artifact can be traced back to an individual, perhaps firstly by identifying which temple it might have come from, the purpose of the skull might be at last identified.

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