Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Worldly Protector (Bon) - Dralha Yesi Gyalpo

འཇིག་རྟེན་པའི་ལྷ། བོན་ལྷ། 世俗的神(苯教)
(item no. 200034)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Bon
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# F1997.14.2
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Interpretation / Description

Drala Yesi Gyalpo: a worldly protector in Drala Appearance. He was the special protector for Tonpa Shenrab during childhood.

Video: Warrior Appearance

Tonpa Shenrab is depicted at the top center of the composition, in a seated posture with the right hand raised in a gesture of blessing and the left hand placed in the lap. He wears ornaments and garments following the appearance of peaceful deities is Tibetan art.

Dressed as a warrior with chain mail and a helmet, Drala Yesi Gyalpo (skra bla ye bsrid rgyal po) holds upraised in the right hand a riding crop and the left held at the side firmly grasps upright a long spear decorated with a pendant. A sword, bow and quiver of arrows hang at the waist. Atop a galloping white horse he is surrounded by billowing white clouds and wild animals.

At the upper corners, sides and along the bottom are numerous animals, attendants mounted on various animals and warriors riding horses. Each figure is accompanied by a Tibetan name inscription.

There are three groups of figures that surround the central deity. Group one [1] is composed of four animal-headed mounted figures in the four corners of the composition. The second group [2] consists of five warrior figures. The third group [3] consists of twelve animal 'werma' creatures.

The [1] first group of four figures are found at the top and bottom corners. They each have an animal face and ride the same animal as represented by the face of the rider. At the top left is Dudul Kyung Chen with a Kyung (bird) face riding a kyung. At the top right is Kundul Drag Chen with a dragon face riding a dragon. At the bottom right is Pa-ngam Darchen with a tiger face and riding a tiger. At the bottom left is Kadrag Dradul with a lion face and riding atop a lion.

The [2] second group, below the central figure, consists of five figures. At the center of this group is Domgo Lang Nying, a Kyung faced figure with bird wings, riding a horse. Surrounding him are four human warriors in Drala Appearance also riding horses.

The [3] third and last group consists of various animals, birds and four legged creatures, twelve in number, surrounding the central figure and interspersed with the other two groups of figures. Some of the animals are easily recognizable and others are not.

Twelve Werma:
1. Golden-eyed kyung
2. Pheasant
3. Four-legged animal
4. Leopard
5. Golden lion
6. Flying mouse
7. Marmot (?)
8. Snow lion
9. Conch lion
10. Tiger
11. Wolf (?)
12. Black kyung

These twelve animals appear very similar in appearance and possibly function in a similar manner to the Thirteen Werma that accompany Ling Gesar when he appears in the form of Gesar Norbu Dradul.

Jeff Watt & Lee Hartline 1-2000 [updated 7-2011]

Front of Painting
English Translation of Inscription: [Name inscriptions in Tibetan language for most of the figures]

Reverse of Painting
Special Features: (Printed script (Uchen))

Secondary Images
Related Items
Publication: Selection of Works - Painting (RMA)

Thematic Sets
Bon Paintings: Masterworks
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Bon Artworks
Bon: Artworks (All)
Bon Religion: Protector Deities Main Page
Exhibition: Bon, The Magic Word (RMA 2007)
Collection of RMA: Best of Collection 2
Collection of RMA: Best of Collection 3
Collection of RMA: Painting Masterworks Page