Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Shri Devi (Buddhist Protector) - Magzor Gyalmo

དཔལ་ལྡན་ལྷ་མོ། 吉祥天母(佛教护法)
(item no. 400)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Sakya and Ngor (Sakya)
Size 51.44x34.92cm (20.25x13.75in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment, Fine Gold Line, Black Background on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# F1996.2.1
Painting School Khyenri
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Wrathful

Gender: Female

TBRC: W19221

Interpretation / Description

Magzor Gyalmo (English: Queen of the Weapon Army), the wrathful form of the goddess Sarasvati.

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 top center is the Tantric primordial Buddha, Vajradhara; to the left, the wrathful ishtadevata Rakta Yamari and on the right is a Sakya Lama. Scattered throughout the lower areas of the painting are numerous attendants and wild animals.

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). This is indicated in the painting with Rakta Yamari, a wrathful form of Manjushri, painted in the upper corner. Any serious undertaking of the practice of 'The Queen of the Weapon Army' is always done with a self-visualization of some wrathful form of Manjushri.

She is always a protector and is also used for divination rituals. Most Tibetan Schools have some form of this deity.

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

Jeff Watt 4-98

Reverse of Painting
English Translation of Inscription: (A lengthy inscription of auspicious mantras, Ye dharma etc.(the mantra of interdependent origination), requests for removal of obstacles and the 'Magzorma' mantra. Some text is unclear. No apparent name or date.

JW, 4-98

Special Features: (Printed script (Uchen))

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Buddhist Protectors: Enlightened
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery II
Painting Type: Black Ground Main Page
Buddhist Protector: Shri Devi Main Page
Tradition: Sakya, Enlightened Protectors
Buddhist Protectors: Enlightened (Female)
Buddhist Protector: Shri Devi, Magzor Gyalmo Main Page
Buddhist Protector: Shri Devi, Magzor Gyalmo (RMA)
Buddhist Protector: Shri Devi, Magzorma (Sakya)