Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Shri Devi (Buddhist Protector) - Magzor Gyalmo

དཔལ་ལྡན་ལྷ་མོ། 吉祥天母(佛教护法)
(item no. 86933)
Origin Location Mongolia
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Size 31.75x25.70cm (12.50x10.12in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection The Brooklyn Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc. #BMA 1996.72, Gift of John Hyman
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Wrathful

Gender: Female

TBRC: W19221

Interpretation / Description

Magzor Gyalmo (English: Queen of the Weapon Army), the wrathful form of the goddess Sarasvati.

Tibetan: Magzor Gyalmo

With one face and two hands, she holds aloft a stick in the right hand and a skullcup in the left held to the heart. Above the head are three peacock feathers. She rides atop a donkey standing in the middle of an ocean of blood with an attendant in front and another behind. At the top center is the peaceful goddess of wisdom Sarasvati and in the four corners are the retinue attendant figures; Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter.

This subject, often commonly ascribed as Shri Devi (who has four hands), is in fact the main attendant to Shri Devi and they are two different deities with different histories and personalities. 'The Queen of the Weapon Army' is the wrathful aspect of the very peaceful goddess Sarasvati (yang chen ma). This is indicated in the painting with Rakta Yamari, a wrathful form of Manjushri, painted in the upper corner. Any serious undertaking of the practice of 'The Queen of the Weapon Army' is always done with a self-visualization of some wrathful form of Manjushri. She is always a protector and is also used for divination rituals. Most Tibetan Schools have some form of this deity.

Jeff Watt 3-2002

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Buddhist Protector: Shri Devi Main Page
Buddhist Protector: Shri Devi, Magzor Gyalmo Main Page
Collection of Brooklyn Museum of Art
Collection of Brooklyn Museum of Art (Deities)