Dorje Putri of Shang, belongs to the class of Sakya Bamo protector deities. This class of protectors arises solely from the subjugation of witches by the Khon lamas of the Sakya tradition. The most important of these protectors are the three, Mamo Rikye, Namka Drolma and Shangmo.
Jeff Watt 1-2003
Witches are a minor class of female deity unique to the White Earth School (Sakya) of Tibetan Buddhism. Known as bamo in Tibetan they are considered particularly unruly. Three main witches are commonly known aside from many lesser ones. The Red Witch of Shang, named after the village of Shang, in Tsang Province, is one of the three principal Bamo. Red in color, she holds a heart in the upraised right hand and a length of intestines in the left. These witches are often recognized by a large flower ornament adorning the forehead. In the White Earth School it is generally only the high teachers and lineage holders that retain these witches as servant protectors. They are considered difficult to control and thought to cause physical illness and madness to the weak hearted.
This painting was commissioned by a family that desired a special blessing and protection against a variety of misfortunes. The reverse of the painting has a lengthy inscription along with a seal and signature of one of Tibet's highest female teachers of the 19th century, Jetsun Pema Trinle (b.1874), of the Khon family, Tara Palace. The inscription also states that the painting was twice blessed.
Jeff Watt 5-2005