Buddhist priest's apron, Tibetan, 18th-19th century.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
A Buddhist priest's apron, called a 'nag-pa', made with carved human bone beads strung on threads, and used in necromantic rites. In Tibetan religion, the soul is considered to leave the body after death. The physical remains are commonly disposed of above the earth in sky burials. The flesh is left out for vultures and wild dogs to devour, and the bones either ground down or used in the making of everyday objects.