Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Sipai Gyalmo (Bon Protector)

སྲིད་པའི་རྒྱལ་མོ། བོན་གྱི་སྲུང་མ། 斯贝加母(苯教护法)
(item no. 85547)
Origin Location Eastern Tibet
Date Range 1900 - 1959
Lineages Bon
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Ligmincha Institute - photographs
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Interpretation / Description

Sipai Gyalmo Riding a Black Mule (English: Queen of the World): principal female protector deity in the Bon Religion. Sipai Gyalmo Riding a Black Mule and Sipai Gyalmo Riding a Red Mule are the two most common forms of the many manifestations of the deity. These two forms are identified by their three heads and six hands. The mules are black or red. The hand objects are different between the two forms.

In the Bon religion the Queen of the World is the most wrathful manifestation of the peaceful deity Loving Mother of Wisdom (T. Sherab Chamma). Fierce in appearance, black in color, she has three faces and six arms holding weapons and implements of power and control. The three right hands hold a victory banner, flaming sword and a peg. The left hands hold a trident, svastika wand, and a skullcup filled with blood. Each of these symbolically represents cutting the knots of illusion and rooting out the three poisons of greed, anger and delusion. Riding on a red mule, she sits atop a flayed human skin symbolizing impermanence while the brightly burning flames of wisdom fire surround her.

The Queen of the World is both a meditational deity and a protector. She is one of the most frequently propitiated figures in the Bon religion, and extends her protection to both religious practitioners and common people. Though horrific and wrathful in form she embodies the qualities of wisdom and compassion.

Jeff Watt 5-2005

Related Items
Thematic Sets
Bon Deity: Female
Bon Artworks (All)
Collection of Ligmincha Institute (photos)
Bon Religion: Protector Deities Main Page
Buddhist Protectors: Enlightened (Female)
Bon Deity: Sipai Gyalmo Main Page
Bon: Deities Main Page
Bon Deity: Sipai Gyalmo Dreu Nagmo
Subject: Protectors (Wisdom) as Ishtadevata (Meditational Deities)