Catalog 089.
Suren, early 20th century
Painted wood
H: 15 3/8" (39.2 cm) W: 9 1/2" (24.0 cm)
D: 7 1/8" (18.1 cm)
Choijin-Lama Temple Museum

This fantastic creation showing Begtse and his retinue inside a skeletal shrine is the work of Suren, a famous Mongol sculptor of the early twentieth century. Almost dwarfed by his tall crown, the fierce protector of Mongolia emerges from his mountain abode. He is accompanied by his consort and the Red Master of Life. Around them, the eight butchers who wield swords dance with great vigor. A skeleton holding aloft a human heart (Begtse's attribute) surmounts the shrine, whose predominant white color stands in stark contrast to the mass of red figures below. Begtse and his shrine of skeletons have been depicted in paintings; this superbly carved wooden shrine is the only known three-dimensional example.

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