kirtimukha

The Kirtimukha

The heraldic “face of majesty” or “face of glory” motif depicts a ferocious head with two hand; it devours jewels and golden crest-bar. This design is commonly found on temple architecture, where a frieze of kirtimukhas devouring a connected frieze of jewels appears on lintels, cornice, and pillars. A frieze of eight embossed kirtimukha faces also encircles the ritual hand bell, or Ghanta. 

In China the Kirtimukha is know as the “monster of greed”: his image is depicted upon cooking vessels as a caution against indulgence. In Nepal, where he is called chepu, he serpent-devouring head often replaces the image of Garuda on temple doorways. According to legend, Chepu was the elder bother of Garuda, hatched prematurely and half formed due to his mother’s impatience. In Indian mythology Kirtimukha was created from the wrathful blaze of Shiva’s third eye in order to devour the demon Rahu, but when Rahu repented, Kirtimukha devoured his down body, leaving only his face and hands.

Tibetan Buddhist Symbols Knowledge Cards

Look what I found at Barnes and Nobles: flashcards about Tibetan art!