Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Shri Devi (Buddhist Protector) - Rangjung Gyalmo & Bernagchen

དཔལ་ལྡན་ལྷ་མོ། 吉祥天母(佛教护法)
(item no. 775)
Origin Location Eastern Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Karma (Kagyu)
Size 42.55x29.21cm (16.75x11.50in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Wrathful

Gender: Female

Summary: Shri Devi is the main figure embracing the consort Bernagchen.

Interpretation / Description

Shri Devi Rangjung Gyalmo & Bernagchen Mahakala: important protector deities of the Karma Kagyu Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.

Shri Devi Rangjung Gyalmo & Bernagchen Mahakala as a couple sit astride a donkey atop a sun disc and surrounded by orange, red and yellow flames of pristine awareness. The unique aspect to these combined wrathful protectors is the female - Shri Devi - is the principal iconographic figure facing forward, or outward in a painting or sculpture. Bernagchen Mahakala is the secondary figure embracing Shri Devi and looking towards her.

At the top center is Karma Pakshi - the 2nd Karmapa. On the left is the Indian Mahasiddha Dombi Heruka embracing a consort and riding a top a pregnant tiger. On the right side is Vajrayogini in her form as Vajravarahi, red in colour, standing in a dancing posture.

Jeff Watt 8-2011

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Buddhist Protectors: Enlightened
Tradition: Karma Kagyu Main Page
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 8
Buddhist Protector: Mahakala Main Page
Tradition: Karma Kagyu Protectors
Subject: Female Dominant Meditational Deity Couples
Mahakala (Kagyu)
Buddhist Protector: Shri Devi & Bernagchen