A Bhuta, according to the Tulu civilisation and culture, is a human spirit who lived life as a hero, and was canonised after his or her tragic, martyred death. They are generally benevolent forms of ghosts, who act as guardians over their worshippers. Each Bhuta has a unique cult following, and thus, each Bhuta mask is extremely unique. This antique mask, dated to the 15th century, made of brass, used to be kept in a shrine as per the tradition in Karnataka, starting from the 7th Century Ganga dynasty. This particular brass is highly resistant to corrosion and the elements, as befitting an idol to be worshipped. In practice, the mask was used to channelize the spirit and have an interactive worshipping session between the devout and the bhuta. Much like an ouija board in the west, the Bhuta masks in Karnataka were used to address societal and personal practical questions, and come to a communal consensus. Thus, this prized antique could be used to bring in a sense of peace and belonging, and centre any tempestuous emotional worries. In addition to this, the beatific smile is one that will stay with you, long after you first lay your gaze upon it.
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