Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Sipai Gyalmo (Bon Protector) - 100 Faces, 1000 Hands (ugya chagtong)

སྲིད་པའི་རྒྱལ་མོ། བོན་གྱི་སྲུང་མ། 斯贝加母(苯教护法)
(item no. 202750)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1960 -
Lineages Bon
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Private
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Wrathful

Gender: Female

Interpretation / Description

Ugya Chagtong, Sipai Gyalmo (English: Queen of the World, Having a Thousand Heads and a Thousand Hands): principal female protector deity in the Bon Religion.

Ugya Chagtong, green in colour, has one hundred heads and one thousand arms, wrathful in appearance. The two main hands hold a sword and a skullcup. The remaining hands hold a variety of objects and attributes. She stands atop corpse figures, a sun disc, lotus seat, above a throne, surrounded by the flames of pristine awareness.

In the flames directly above the heads of Ugya Chagtong are the Enlightened Ones of the Three Times: Togyal Yekhyen on the left, Tonpa Shenrab in the center, and Tangma Medron on the right. The three times are the past, present and future.

The faces are unusual in configuration with the central face larger, green and wrathful, with three additional green faces to the right and left, and four stacked above. To either side of the stacked faces are the remaining one thousand heads depicted as khyung birds and other varieties of birds with snow lions and tigers further above along with currently unrecognizable animal heads. All of these are arranged in a horizontal manner to the right and left sides of the green wrathful stacked heads.

The figures at the upper right and left are the Four Magical Menmo, blue, red, green and white: Namchi Gonggyal at the upper left, Yichi Gungsang below, Choma Yesang at the upper right, Nammen Karmo below. They are the Menmo of Magic in the Expanse of Primordial Wisdom, Menmo of the Natural Sky, Menmo of the Magical Space, and Emanated Menmo of Cause and Effect - the White Menmo of the sky. They ride atop a dragon, khyung, snow lion and a ram.

At the bottom of the composition are the Three Sentinel Ladies, Guardians of the World: Karmo Tsedag on the right, Mugmo Wangchug at the center, and Nagmo Kundrol on the left. They are known as the White Lady of Longevity, the Purple Lady of Power and the Black Lady who Liberated all Beings. They are mounted atop a bird, kyang and a khyung.

Jeff Watt, 1-2024

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, Yasuhiko Nagano. National Museum of Ethnology 2011 Osaka. Plate no. 49, pages 301-303.

Related Items
Thematic Sets
Bon Deity: Sipai Gyalmo, Ugya Chagtong (Iconographic Anomolies)
Subject: Female Deities - Green
Bon Deity: Sipai Gyalmo Main Page
Publication: Bonpo Thangkas from Rebkong (Wrathful)
Bon Deity: Sipai Gyalmo, Ugya Chagtong