Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Achi Chokyi Drolma - (Riding a Horse)

འབྲི་གུང་པའི་སྲུང་མ། - ཨ་ཕྱི་ཆོས་ཀྱི་སྒྲོལ་མ། 阿吉秋吉卓妈(直貢噶举护法)
(item no. 73896)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Drigung (Kagyu)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection John and Berthe Ford
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Semi-Peaceful

Gender: Female

Interpretation / Description

Achi Chokyi Drolma, an historical person of the 12th century.

Born in the 11th century in Central Tibet, the Lady (achi) Chokyi Drolma was always preoccupied with spiritual practice. Believing that great things would come from her offspring and future generations she sought out and married a good man. She had four sons each of whom became a great ascetic or scholar. As a great Tantric practitioner herself and a great teacher in her own right, in a large cave before her many students, she once conducted a sacramental feast transforming a human corpse into a sacred offering. At that time she vowed to be a protector of Buddhism and composed a liturgy for invoking herself as a protector deity. Upon completion of the verses, appearing on the back of a blue horse she flew into the air and departed for a distant Buddhist heaven. Later, her great-grandson Jigten Sumgon (1143-1217), the founder of a large and influential tradition of Buddhism, Drigung Kagyu, also composed a liturgy for his famous great-grandmother and established her as a principal religious protector of the tradition.

This painting is based on those early texts and the descriptions for depicting the Lady Chokyi Drolma that now includes a large body of liturgical and commentarial literature. Atop a blue horse, she holds a double-sided drum in the upraised right hand and a skullcup in the left held to the heart; surrounded by four attendant figures each atop a horse. Two historical figures and the goddess Tara are portrayed at the top of the composition and various offerings are strewn about the foreground below the central figure.

Jeff Watt 5-2005

Inscription on the Back: Om ah hum svaha!
Homage to the Victorious Kings, Holders of the Supreme Vehicle.
Homage to Pema Nyingje Wangpo! [9th Situ, 1774-1853]
Homage to Pema Kunzang! [10th Situ, 1854-1885]

Secondary Images
Related Items
Exhibition Appearances
Exhibition: Female Buddhas at RMA

Thematic Sets
Collection of John and Berthe Ford
Tradition: Drigung Kagyu Main Page
Subject: Protectors That Are Not Wrathful
Buddhist Deity: Achi Chokyi Drolma
Subject: Female Teachers Main Page
Subject: Music (Deities Related to Music)
Buddhist Protectors, Worldly Deities (Lokapala)