Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Shri Devi (Buddhist Protector) - Magzor Gyalmo

དཔལ་ལྡན་ལྷ་མོ། 吉祥天母(佛教护法)
(item no. 105)
Origin Location Central Tibet
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Gelug
Size 83.82x57.79cm (33x22.75in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment, Fine Gold Line, Black Background on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# P1995.5.1
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Wrathful

Gender: Female

TBRC: bdr:W19221

Interpretation / Description

Shri Devi, Magzor Gyalmo (Tibetan: pal den lha mo, mag gyi zor le, gyal mo. English: Glorious Goddess, the Queen who Repels Armies, or the Queen who has the power to turn back armies. Sanskrit: Shri Devi, Yakshi Remati): belonging to the larger class of enlightened protector deities known as Shri Devi. Magzor Gyalmo is regarded as a wrathful emanation of the peaceful goddess Sarasvati, popular in Hinduism and Buddhism.

"... Shri Devi Remati, Queen of the Army Repelling Weapons, riding a mule, blue-black in colour, with one face and two hands, having bared fangs and gnashing down on a human corpse. Possessing three round red eyes, and the forehead furrowed into a frown, brown hair flowing upwards with licks of flame and smoke issuing forth. The right ear is adorned with a poisonous snake and the left with a lion, crowned with five dry human skulls and a necklace of fifty blood dripping wet [heads] strung with intestines. ... having a lower garment of tiger skin, a snake belt and necklace, etc. The right hand holds to the sky a sandalwood stick marked with a vajra. The left holds to the heart a mustard seed and blood filled skullcup. ... At the level of the navel is a sun and at the crown of the head a crescent moon; above the head is a peacock parasol canopy." (Sharchen Champa Kunga Tashi 1558-1603, TBRC P778. Drub Tab Kun Tu vol.9, pp.606-607. TBRC W19221).

The textual source for Magzor Gyalmo is the Dakinyagnijihajvala Tantra, Dege Kanjur, volume 98, pp.223-253. It is found in the Nyingma Tantra section, vol.3. TBRC w22084.

At the top center is Je Drub Khang Rinchen (1641-1713) with the right hand raised to the heart, the left holding a religious text in the lap and seated on a pink lotus seat. To the right is Khardo Rinchen (1672-1749) holding a black begging bowl in the right hand and the left extended over the knee. Again to the right is Ponlob Puntsog Gyatso (17th century) with the right hand raised and the left supporting a text at the heart. To the left of the central figure is Gyalwa Ngapa Chenpo, the 5th Dalai Lama (1617-1682) recognizable by the characteristic moustache and ritual purba (Skt: kila) under his sash at the waist. He holds upraised in the right hand the stem of a white lotus blossoming over the right shoulder and with the left cradles a golden eight spoked wheel in the lap. At the far left is Panchen Lobzang Yeshe (1663-1737), the 2nd Panchen Lama, holding a begging bowl across the right knee and with the left hand performs the gesture of blessing at the heart. All five teachers wear orange monastic robes and the pointed yellow hat of the Gelugpa School.

At the bottom center is the indigenous Tibetan mountain goddess Tseringma riding atop a blue snow lion accompanied by her four sisters. White in colour, youthful and beautiful, she holds aloft in the right hand a gold vajra scepter. The left hand holds to the heart a golden vase. At the sides the four sisters each hold their own objects and ride different animal mounts.

Donor Inscription Information: An inscription on the back gives the names of four donors; Purbu Chog Ngagwang Champa (1682-1762 [P108]), Lobzang Dargye, Champa Yeshe and Lobzang Trinle. Ngagwang Champa is the principal donor and the verse on the back was written by him. A copy of the verse can be found in his collected writings (vol.4, page 319) along with dedicatory inscriptions for six other paintings which comprise a set of seven Gelug protector deities. Two of the three accompanying names are only tentatively identified as Lobzang Dargye the 49th Ganden Tripa (1662-1723 [P2758]) and Lobzang Trinle (1697-1761). The other six compositions from the set list Ngagwang Champa first in each case but the following three names are all different one painting from the other. (Collected Works phur bu lcog nag dbang byams pa w1229, 4 volumes. New Delhi, 1973).

Teachers of the Zhang, Mu and Sakya Lineages: Vajradhara, [Guhyapati Varapani], Pandita Lawa Marpo, [Pandita Sherab Salwa], Che Jungne Zangpo, Nub Gyalwa Yeshe, Shang Chogdru Sherab Lama, Se Sangha Bhadra, Se Palchen Odpo, Se Shang Dode Tsemo, Shang Dingriwa Nyima Drag, Tenzangwa Rinchen Namgyal, Samlingpa Sanggye Jungwa, Jamyang Khonton Tugje Rinchen, Jangsem Rinchen Gonpo, Choje Nyima Shenyen, Choje Konchog Pal Zangpo, Jetsun Jamyang Gonpo, Bodongpa Jamyang Raltri, Namkha Monlam, Je Namkhai Nyingpo, Je Namkha Gyaltsen, Chagyurwa Sonam Sengge, Yang Gonpa Palden Tashi, Ngag Chang Kunga Rinchen, Ngorchen Konchog Palden, Sharchen Champa Kunga Tashi, Sharchen Sherab Jungne, Sharpa Yeshe Zangpo, Kedrub Sanggye Puntsog.

Biographical Details:

Je Drub Khang Rinchen Khardo Rinchen Ponlob Puntsog Gyatso

5th Dalai Lama, Ngagwang Lobzang Gyatso 2nd Panchen Lama, Lobzang Yeshe

Purbu Chog Ngagwang Champa

Another Painting From the Same Set:

This painting belongs to a set of seven paintings. A second painting from the set belongs to the Essen collection now in the Museum der Kulturen, Basel, Switzerland. A third painting depicting Vaishravana can be found in the Netherlands in a private collection.

Die Gotter des Himalaya. Buddhistische Kunst Tibets. (2 Volumes). Die Sammlung Gerd-Wolfgang Essen. Prestel-Verlag: Munchen, 1989.

Volume 1, page 227-228, Begtse Abb. S. 227 (beg-rtse) Tibet, 19. Jh.; 85x58 cm (- II-407)

Tibet: Buddhas, Gods, Saints. Museum der Kulturen Basel, Switzerland. Edited by Clara B. Wilpert. In collaboration with Maria Angela Algar. With a Foreword by H.H. the Dalai Lama. Prestel Verlag: Munich-London-New York, 2001.

Page 142, Begtse. 46 a, Tibet, 19. Jh. Thangka, Leimtempera auf Stoff, 85x58 cm IId 12667, Essen I-140

The Essen painting is of the protector Begtse Chen with retinue. At the top center is the Buddha Amitabha with two lamas on the right, Jetsunpa and Sera Kunkyenpa. On the left side are the two Dalai Lamas, Gyalwa Gendun Gyatso and Gyalwa Sonam Gyatso.

Jeff Watt 4-2004

Numbered Image:
1. Shri Devi, Magzor Gyalmo
2. Makaramukha, attendant
3. Simhamukha, attendant
4. Shri Devi, Retinue Figure
5. Shri Devi, Retinue Figure
6. Shri Devi, Retinue Figure
7. Shri Devi, Retinue Figure
8. Je Drubkang Rinchen (1641-1713)
9. Kardo Rinchen (1672-1749)
10. 5th Dalai Lama, Ngagwang Lobzang Gyatso (1617-1682)
11. Ponlob Puntsog Gyatso (17th century)
12. 2nd Panchen Lama, Lobzang Yeshe (1663-1737)
13. Tseringma (with Four Sisters), Mountain Goddess
14. Chopen Drinzangma, Mountain Goddess
15. Tekar Drozangma, Mountain Goddess
16. Ting gyi Shal Zangma, Mountain Goddess
17. Miyo Lozangma, Mountain Goddess

Front of Painting
Wylie Transliteration of Inscription: dpon blob phun tshog rgya tsho. mkhardo rin chen. rje sgub khang rin chen. rgyal ba lnga pa chen po. pan chen blo bzang ye shes.

Reverse of Painting
Wylie Transliteration of Inscription: na mo ma ha ka li ye. bde stong dbyer med nges don tsan tra li. snying rje ngam nag bstan bsrungs mthu mo che. bris sku 'di la dbyer med brtan par bzhugs. ngag dbang byams pa blo bzang dar rgyas dang. byams pa ye shes blo bzang 'phrin las sogs. bdag cag 'khor bcas bu ltar skyong mdzod la. zhi rgyas dbang drag las rnams thogs med sgrubs. ngag gi sgo nas 'chad rtsod brtsam la dga'. sems ni byams dang blo gros bzang po'i dpal. 'gro ba 'dren la snying stobs dar zhing rgyas. bde stong ye shes zung 'jug thob par mdzod. mangalam.

Special Features: (Cursive script (Umay), is black)

Secondary Images
Related Items
Bibliography: Protector Deities in Himalayan Art (Buddhist)

Thematic Sets
Subject: Two Protectors Red & Black
Subject: Eight Wrathful Ones of the Gelug School
Painting Type: Black Ground Masterworks
Painting Set: Gelug Protectors (Purbu Chog)
Subject: Composition - Floating Figure
Subject: Divination & Oracles Page
Buddhist Protector: Shri Devi Iconography
Collection of RMA: Painting Masterworks Page
Collection of RMA: Black Ground Masterworks
Painting: Art Topics
Subject: Ladies with Beards
Subject: Red Snout-like Nose (Wrathful Deities)
Subject: Female Deities (Popular Figures)
Buddhist Protector: Shri Devi Earrings
Collection of RMA: Black Ground Masterworks (Curator's Selection)
Buddhist Protectors: Enlightened
Tradition: Gelug Keys to Iconography
Painting Type: Black Ground Main Page
Buddhist Protector: Shri Devi Main Page
Tradition: Gelug Protectors
Buddhist Protectors: Enlightened (Female)
Buddhist Protector: Shri Devi, Magzor Gyalmo Main Page
Subject: Protector Deities Main Page (All Traditions)
Buddhist Protector: Shri Devi (Masterworks)
Bibliography: Videos - Exhibition Catalogue Reviews
Collection of RMA: Best of Collection 1
Buddhist Protector: Shri Devi, Magzorma (Masterworks)