crystal skull in sphalerite
Dimensions of 7cm long 6.5cm high 4cm wide
Weight of 0.372kg
Sphalerite is a crystallized zinc sulfide (ZnS). Transparent varieties are cut as a collector's gem.
Cited by Georgius Agricola in 1546; by Wallerius in 1747 and Torbern Olof Bergman in 1782 it will be described by Ernst Friedrich Glocker in 1847, the name derives from the Greek "sphaleros" = misleading, in allusion to the possibility of confusion with galena.
it is mainly found in veins of pneumatolithic pegmatites. In lead-zinc-copper deposits.
Deposit: Russia Nikolayevsky Mine, in Dalnegorsk, north of the Sea of Japan, 500 km northeast of Vladivostok, Primorsky Krai, Russian Far East
In Asia, we find the symbolism of the skull in Buddhism and Hinduism through their religious art. Indeed the representation of the lord of death among Buddhists, named Yama, has five skulls around his head, like a crown that indicates a victory over five defects: hatred, greed, pride, envy and ignorance. On the other hand in the Hindu religion Kali the goddess of death is adorned with a necklace of skulls.
Mahakala is almost always depicted with a crown of five skulls, which depict the transformation of the five kleshas (afflictions) in the Five Wisdoms of Buddha.
Skulls are often found in buddhist necklaces. In this way we represent again the impermanence of existence.
For example it is quite common to come across bowls made with skulls, called kapala in Sanskrit. Buddhist monks spend time looking at them to remember their temporality. It helps to keep in mind that death is omnipresent and can occur at any time.
The importance of the skull lies in the representation of this part of the body in many European and Asian legends. The macrocosmic representation of Man compares his skull, protector of the soul, to the celestial vault, domain of the gods. For example, in the Icelandic Grimnismal, the skull of the giant Ymir becomes the vault of the sky at his death.
In the Mayan civilization in America, which originated as early as prehistoric times, belief in gods is broken down into two categories, according to a binary distinction between good and evil. One is associated with day and heaven comprising 13 deities and the other is related to the underworld with 9 gods called "the lords of the night" among whom we find the god of death represented by a skeleton with a terrifying skull.
In Christian culture the morbid fatality of the skull is nuanced by faith in the afterlife and an afterlife. The biblical design of the skull is illustrated by the Golgotha also nicknamed the "mount of the skull" where Adam would be buried, his skull and shins being represented at the foot of the cross of Jesus. A tree could grow on this skull, a tree of life that makes it possible to compare Jesus to a reborn Adam.
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