A kapala (Sanskrit for “skull”) or skullcup is a cup made from a human skull used as a ritual implement (bowl) in both Hindu Tantra and Buddhist Tantra (Vajrayana). Especially in Tibet, they were often carved or elaborately mounted with precious metals and jewels.
A skull cup is a drinking vessel made from an inverted human calvaria that has been cut away from the rest of the skull. The use of a human skull as a drinking cup in ritual use or as a trophy is reported in numerous sources throughout history and among various peoples, and among Western cultures is most often associated with the historically nomadic cultures of the Eurasian steppe.
Skulls used as cups can be distinguished from plain skulls by showing cut-marks from flesh removal and working to produce a regular lip