Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Shri Devi (Buddhist Protector) - Rangjung Gyalmo & Bernagchen

དཔལ་ལྡན་ལྷ་མོ། 吉祥天母(佛教护法)
(item no. 1044)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Material Black Background on Cotton
Collection Shelley & Donald Rubin
Catalogue # acc.# P2001.12.1
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Wrathful

Gender: Female

Summary: Shri Devi is the main figure embracing the consort Bernagchen.

Interpretation / Description

Shri Devi Rangjung Gyalmo & Bernagchen Mahakala: important protector deities of the Karma Kagyu Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.

Shri Devi Rangjung Gyalmo & Bernagchen Mahakala as a couple sit astride a donkey atop a sun disc and surrounded by orange, red and yellow flames of pristine awareness. The unique aspect to these combined wrathful protectors is the female - Shri Devi - is the principal iconographic figure facing forward, or outward in a painting or sculpture. Bernagchen Mahakala is the secondary figure embracing Shri Devi and looking towards her.

At the top center is Karma Pakshi - the 2nd Karmapa. At the middle left side is a Nyingma Heruka meditational deity. On the right side is Vajrayogini in her form as Vajravarahi.

In the lower composition of the painting are four protector deities. At the lower left is Damchen Garwa Nagpo riding a brown goat. On the right is Shingkyong Yab with a lion face riding a black horse. Below that is the red consort, Shingkyong Yum, with a lion face riding a red horse. At the bottom center is Tseringma, the mountain goddess, riding a white snow lion. To the left are two monkeys standing on their hands and holding skullcups with red triangular shaped food offerings with the two feet.

Jeff Watt 8-2011

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Painting Type: Black Ground Main Page
Buddhist Protector: Mahakala Main Page
Subject: Monkey Imagery Page
Subject: Female Dominant Meditational Deity Couples
Mahakala (Kagyu)
Buddhist Protector: Shri Devi & Bernagchen