Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Marichi (Buddhist Deity) - (1 face, 2 hands)

འོད་སེར་ཅན་མ། ནང་ལྷ། 具光佛母(佛教本尊)
(item no. 65449)
Origin Location Mongolia
Date Range 1600 - 1699
Lineages Buddhist
Size 40.50cm (15.94in) high
Material Metal, Painted Face/Hair
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Peaceful

Gender: Female

Interpretation / Description

Marichi (English: Goddess of the Dawn. Tibetan: od zer chan ma). This sculpture belongs to a three sculpture set with Green Tara at the center, the goddess Marichi placed to her right (the viewer's left) and the semi-wrathful goddess Ekajati placed on Tara's left (viewer's right). See a painted image of these three figures in a single composition.

The Goddess of the Dawn is depicted in many different forms. Sometimes she rides a white horse through the sky, banishing the darkness and driving back the night with the orb of the sun in the outstretched right hand, more commonly she is yellow in colour, with three faces and six arms, seated on a chariot drawn by seven pigs, removing all obstacles to happiness and well-being. The metaphor for meditation and spiritual practice is light, light overcoming darkness.

This form of the Goddess, seated in a relaxed pose, is an attendant figure accompanying Green Tara. Marichi is placed on the right side of Tara. A second attendant figure, Ekajati, would complete the three deity composition and she would sit or stand at the left of Tara.

The round face, ornamentation and jewelry, patterned etching on the garments, along with the multi-leveled lotus base is all characteristic of Mongolian sculpture from the 17th century. The Tara and Ekajati sculptures that belong with this Marichi are exhibited in the Winter Palace Museum, Ulan Batar, Mongolia. All three sculptures are believed to have been made by the 17/18th century Mongolian Buddhist teacher and artist Zanabazar (Yeshe Dorje).

Jeff Watt 5-2005

Secondary Images
Related Items
Exhibition Appearances
Exhibition: Female Buddhas at RMA
Exhibition: RMA Masterworks, January 28th, 2021

Definition: Himalayan 'Style' Art
Publication: Selection of Works - Sculpture (RMA)
HAR: Jeff Watt - Profile

Thematic Sets
Collection of Jourdan-Barry
Collection of RMA: Best of Collection (Sculpture)
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Sculpture (Gallery 1)
RMA: How or Why an Object was Acquired
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Zanabazar Style & Atelier
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Mongolia
Essay: Marichi, Shingon & Tibetan Buddhist Comparison
Buddhist Deity: Marichi Main Page
Sculpture: Zanabazar Style (Peaceful Appearance)
Sculpture: Zanabazar Style (Female Figures)
Buddhist Deity: Green Tara (Three Deity Configuration)
Buddhist Deity: Marichi Iconography
Region: Mongolia, School of Zanabazar (Masterworks)
Collection of RMA: Best of Collection 1
Collection of RMA: Selected Sculpture
Sculpture: Zanabazar Style (Mongolia)
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Subjects
Buddhist Deity: Marichi (Sculpture)
Buddhist Deity: Marichi (Yellow Forms)