Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Worldly Protector (Buddhist)

འཇིག་རྟེན་པའི་ལྷ། ནང་ལྷ། 世俗的神(佛教)
(item no. 90187)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Sakya
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Private
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Interpretation / Description

Dorje Putri of Shang, belongs to the class of Sakya Bamo protector deities. This class of protectors arises solely from the subjugation of witches by the Khon lamas of the Sakya tradition. The most important of these protectors are the three, Mamo Rikye, Namka Drolma and Shangmo.

Jeff Watt 1-2003

Witches are a minor class of female deity unique to the White Earth School (Sakya) of Tibetan Buddhism. Known as bamo in Tibetan they are considered particularly unruly. Three main witches are commonly known aside from many lesser ones. The Red Witch of Shang, named after the village of Shang, in Tsang Province, is one of the three principal Bamo. Red in color, she holds a heart in the upraised right hand and a length of intestines in the left. These witches are often recognized by a large flower ornament adorning the forehead. In the White Earth School it is generally only the high teachers and lineage holders that retain these witches as servant protectors. They are considered difficult to control and thought to cause physical illness and madness to the weak hearted.

This painting was commissioned by a family that desired a special blessing and protection against a variety of misfortunes. The reverse of the painting has a lengthy inscription along with a seal and signature of one of Tibet's highest female teachers of the 19th century, Jetsun Pema Trinle (b.1874), of the Khon family, Tara Palace. The inscription also states that the painting was twice blessed.

Jeff Watt 5-2005

Reverse of Painting
Special Features: (includes "Om Ah Hum" inscription)

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

Thematic Sets
Subject: Three Witches of Sakya
Collection: Christie's, Painting (March, 1999; NY)
Collection: Private 1