Horn for medicines from a Tibetan medicine man’s costume

Made:
1986 in Nepal
maker:
Unknown
Horn for medicines, part of a shaman's costume collected in Nepal, 1986. Front view of object standing on white Horn for medicines, part of a shaman's costume collected in Nepal, 1986. Front view of object standing on white Horn for medicines, part of a shaman's costume collected in Nepal, 1986. Three quarter view. White background.

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Horn for medicines, part of a shaman's costume collected in Nepal, 1986. Front view of object standing on white
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Horn for medicines, part of a shaman's costume collected in Nepal, 1986. Front view of object standing on white
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Horn for medicines, part of a shaman's costume collected in Nepal, 1986. Three quarter view. White background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Rhino horn for medicines, from Tibetan Shaman's costume, collected in Bhaktapur, Nepal, 1986

This rhino horn held medicines. It was part of a Tibetan shaman’s costume. It attached to a belt or scarf around the waist. Shamans are believed to hold the power to cure disease by contacting the spirit world. They often enter a trance-like state to discover why a person has fallen ill, and how they might cure it. Their costume marks them as an important person in the community. Their physical appearance also impresses or intimidates spirits.

A shaman ritual is just one medical tradition used in Tibet and Nepal. Others include biomedicine and Sherpa traditions. This costume was collected by a private collector while travelling through Kathmandu valley in Nepal. The collector literally bought the costume off the man’s back and donated it to the Science Museum. The costume was bought from shaman who had travelled weeks to attend the Tibetan festival of Bodhnath. This takes place at the Great Buddhist Stupa (monument) in Kathmandu.

Details

Category:
Asian Medicine
Object Number:
1987-716 Pt2
type:
horn and shaman
taxonomy:
  • animal remains