Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Shri Devi (Buddhist Protector) - Magzor Gyalmo

དཔལ་ལྡན་ལྷ་མོ། 吉祥天母(佛教护法)
(item no. 507)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Gelug and Uncertain
Size 53.34x38.10cm (21x15in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment, Fine Gold Line, Black Background on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# F1996.29.4
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Wrathful

Gender: Female

TBRC: W19221

Interpretation / Description

Magzor Gyalmo, Shri Devi (English: Queen of the Weapon Army, Glorious Goddess), wrathful form of 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 with rocky crags and out-croppings. She is surrounded by six barely discernable female attendants all with one face and two hands; standing in various contorted wrathful poses.

This subject, often commonly ascribed as Shri Devi (Tib.: Palden Lhamo) ,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 wisdom goddess Sarasvati (Tib.:Yang Chenma). 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, bodhisattva of wisdom.

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 Sakya and Gelugpa 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 5-98

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