Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Worldly Protector (Buddhist) - Drogdze Wangmo

འཇིག་རྟེན་པའི་ལྷ། ནང་ལྷ། 世俗的神(佛教)
(item no. 65925)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Nyingma and Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Wrathful

Gender: Female

Interpretation / Description

Drogdzema, (English: the Powerful Friend): protector of the Nyingma Terma (Treasure) Tradition. This protector deity was popularized in the 18th and 19th centuries by the Mindrolling Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. (See the Drogdze Wangmo Main Page).

Video: Drogdze Wangmo (HAR 65925)

Seated at the top left in typical appearance is Padmasambhava. At the top right is Terdag Lingpa Gyurme Dorje with the typical lotus hat, white beard and holding a 'terma' casket in the left hand.

Fierce in appearance, maroon in colour, with one face and two hands, she has a gaping mouth, bared fangs and flaccid hanging breasts. The right hand to the mouth holds a fresh heart and in the left hand a round mirror. Adorned with a tiara of five skulls, earrings, necklace, bracelets, anklets and a long garland of severed heads she wears an upper robe of human skin and a tiger pelt as a skirt. Standing with her right leg bent and left straight, above a corpse, sun disc and lotus blossom she is completely surrounded by the flames of wisdom fire.

"...One Mother, Mistress of the Three Realms, with a body maroon in colour, ferocious and frightful in appearance, with one face and two hands. In the right, eating the heart of an enemy, blood dripping and warm. Reflecting the Three Realms - the left holds a mirror. Wearing an upper garment of white silk, a tiger skin lower garment and a fresh human skin cloak. Dark brown hair hanging downward, earrings, a crown of five dry skulls and a necklace of fifty fresh, a garland of bones and a long necklace; standing haughtily with the left leg extended..." (Min-ling Lochen Dharmashri, 1654-1718. Tibetan source text part II, pp.261-262).

"The Mistress of the charnel ground mamos, dark maroon, extremely wrathful. In the right [hand] - eating the heart of the enemy, in the left a mirror. White silk as an upper garment, a tiger skirt, a fresh human skin worn in a draped manner, dark brown hair - downward tousled, conch shell earrings, a crown of five skulls, necklace of fresh heads, a garland of bone and a snake necklace. The left leg is straight, on a lotus, sun and corpse seat." (Jamyang Kyentse Wangpo, 1820-1892).

"Owner of all charnel ground places, baneful Mistress of local protectors and dakas, with unsurpassed power of prescience and magical emanation; homage to the yogini Drogdze Wangmo." (Nyingma liturgical verse).

Avowed protectors, also known as worldly deities, have been sworn by an oath to protect both the teachings of the Buddha and his followers. In most situations the protectors were formerly daemons bent on inflicting harm, having been subdued by great teachers such as Padmasambhava, they now serve the altruistic interests of Buddhist ideals.

A small inscription written on the reverse of the painting, at the bottom, states that the hand print is that of Terdag Lingpa Gyurme Dorje.

Jeff Watt 3-2005

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Collection of RMA: Historically Important Works
Subject: Ladies with Beards
Buddhist Worldly Protector: Drogdze Wangmo Main Page
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 4
Tradition: Mindrolling (Nyingma)