Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Shri Devi (Buddhist Protector) - Magzor Gyalmo

དཔལ་ལྡན་ལྷ་མོ། 吉祥天母(佛教护法)
(item no. 396)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Gelug and Uncertain
Size 51.75x38.42cm (20.38x15.13in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment, Fine Gold Line, Black Background on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# F1997.32.1
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Wrathful

Gender: Female

TBRC: bdr:W19221

Interpretation / Description

Magzor Gyalmo (Tibetan: Magzor Gyalmo. English: Queen of the Weapon Army).

Tibetan: Magzor Gyalmo

With one face and two hands, she holds aloft a vajra stick in the right hand and a skullcup in the left held to the heart. Above the head is a peacock canopy. She rides a donkey; standing in the middle of an ocean of blood. At the lower right and left are two attendants, both with the heads of mythical animals. Offerings and wish-fulfilling jewels are heaped neatly along the bottom.

This subject, often commonly ascribed as Shri Devi (who has four hands), is in fact the main attendant to Shri Devi and they are two different deities with different histories and personalities. 'The Queen of the Weapon Army' is the wrathful aspect of the very peaceful goddess Sarasvati (Yang Chenma).

She is always a protector and is also used for divination rituals. Most Tibetan Schools have some form of this deity. It is commonly found on Gelugpa and Sakya paintings. This practice was adopted early on as the special protector for the Dalai Lamas and the Namgyal College of the Tse Potala Palace.

The method of painting is called 'nag thang,' gold outline on a black background.

Jeff Watt 4-98

Related Items
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Buddhist Protectors: Enlightened
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 2
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
Buddhist Protector: Shri Devi, Magzor Gyalmo (Rubin Museum)