Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Sherab Chamma (Bon Deity)

ཤེས་རབ་བྱམས་མ། བོན་ལྷ། 希绕强玛(苯教本尊)
(item no. 65397)
Origin Location Himalayan Region
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Bon
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Interpretation / Description

Sherab Chamma (English: the Loving Mother of Wisdom).

Loving Mother of Wisdom (Tibetan: Sherab Chamma) is the principal female deity of the Bon religion. The word bon meaning truth belongs to the Zhang Zhung language, an ancient language of Western Tibet. Indigenous to the Himalayas, Tibet and Central Asia, the Bon religion has flourished despite the popularity of Buddhism over the last 1000 years and despite the political upheavals of the 20th century.

The primary role of Loving Mother of Wisdom is that of a compassionate mother figure that embodies the nature of wisdom. As the nature of wisdom she is the mother of all Bon deities and Enlightened Ones. The four principle deities in the Bon religion are known as the Four Transcendent Ones and Sherab Chamma, the only female, stands as the first of these. She is known by many names and has numerous forms that appear both peaceful and wrathful.

In her most wrathful form she manifests as the horrific protector Queen of the World (Tibetan: Sipai Gyalmo) with three faces and six arms - the principal protector of the Bon religion. In her semi-wrathful form she manifests as the deity Yeshe Walmo functioning as a personal protector and as a healing deity.

Jeff Watt 5-2005

Related Items
Exhibition Appearances
Exhibition: Female Buddhas at RMA

Thematic Sets
Subject: Female Deities - Yellow
Bon Deity: Sherab Chamma Main Page
Exhibition: Bon, The Magic Word (RMA 2007)
Painting Style: Bon Art in Amdo
Bon Deity: Sherab Chamma (Multiple Deities)
Bon Deity: Sherab Chamma Iconography
Bon: Deities Main Page
Bon Paintings: Masterworks
Bon Deity: Sherab Chamma (Ninety-six Deity)
Bon Deity: Satrig Ersang/Sherab Chamma (Masterworks)
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Bon Artworks