Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Yeshe Walmo (Bon Deity)

ཡེ་ཤེས་དབལ་མོ། བོན་ལྷ། 耶喜瓦母(苯教本尊)
(item no. 85604)
Origin Location Nepal
Date Range 1960 -
Lineages Bon
Material Ground Mineral Pigment, Black Background on Cotton
Collection Ligmincha Institute - photographs
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Interpretation / Description

Yeshe Walmo: a healing deity and a protector, an emanation of Sherab Chamma and Sipai Gyalmo, principal female protector deity in the Bon Religion.

Typically there are two common forms of the deity Sipai Gyalmo, Riding a Black Mule and Riding a Red Mule. These two forms are identified by their three heads and six hands. The mules are black or red. The hand objects are different between the two forms. Four celestial beings hold up the hooves of the red mule.

In the Bon religion the Queen of the World is the most wrathful manifestation of the peaceful deity Loving Mother of Wisdom (T. Sherab Chamma). Fierce in appearance, black in color, she has three faces and six arms holding weapons and implements of power and control. The three right hands hold a victory banner, flaming sword and a peg. The left hands hold a trident, svastika wand, and a skullcup filled with blood. Each of these symbolically represents cutting the knots of illusion and rooting out the three poisons of greed, anger and delusion. Riding on a red mule, she sits atop a flayed human skin symbolizing impermanence while the brightly burning flames of wisdom fire surround her.

The Queen of the World is both a meditational deity and a protector. She is one of the most frequently propitiated figures in the Bon religion, and extends her protection to both religious practitioners and common people. Though horrific and wrathful in form she embodies the qualities of wisdom and compassion.

Jeff Watt 5-2005

Related Items
Thematic Sets
Bon Deity: Female
Painting Type: Black Ground Main Page
Collection of Ligmincha Institute (photos)
Buddhist Protectors: Enlightened (Female)
Bon Deity: Yeshe Walmo