Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Sipai Gyalmo (Bon Protector) - Riding a Black Mule (dreu nagmo)

སྲིད་པའི་རྒྱལ་མོ། བོན་གྱི་སྲུང་མ། 斯贝加母(苯教护法)
(item no. 18371)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Bon
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Private
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Wrathful

Gender: Female

Interpretation / Description

Sipai Gyalmo (English: Queen of the World), chief protector deity of the Bon Religion, wrathful emanation of Sherab Chamma.

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 hook, mirror, 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 grey 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.

At the bottom center is the mountain god Machen Pomra riding a white snow lion. At the far left is Tsen Apse. On the far right side is Midu riding an otter.

Jeff Watt 5-2005 [updated 1-2018]


'Bonpo Thangkas From Rebkong' Bon Studies 13, Senri Ethnological Reports 95. Edited by Bon brgya dge legs lhun grub rgya mtsho, Shin'ichi Tsumagari, Musashi Tachikawa, Ysauhiko Nagano. National Museum of Ethnology 2011 Osaka. Plate no. 50 pages 304-305.

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