Masks of this type were worn by lamas performing ritual dances during Kalachakra initiations, and attached to their headdresses. The design is reduced to essential outlines, forming a striking appearance during the ritual; compare with another example in G. Béguin, Dieux et démons de l'Himâlaya, 1977, p. 265, cat. no. 329, and two further gilt examples in R. Thurman and D. Weldon, Sacred Symbols: The Ritual Art of Tibet, 1999, cat. nos. 40 and 41.