Himalayan Art Resources

Subject: Three Witches of Sakya

Masks Main Page

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Description (below)
--- Mamo Rikye
--- Namkha Drolma
--- Shangmo
- Bamo Lhakang (Sakya Monastery)
- Daka & Dakini
- Worldly Spirits
- Masterworks
- Confusions: Mamo, Dakini
- Others...

Video: Bamo Witches (Transcript)

Witches are a minor class of female deity unique to the Sakya Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Known as bamo in Tibetan they are considered particularly unruly. Three main witches are commonly known along with many lesser ones. The most important of these are the Bamo Sum; Mamo Rikye, Namka Drolma and Shangmo. These witches are often recognized by a large flower ornament adorning the forehead. In the Sakya Tradition 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.

Jeff Watt 7-2008 [updated 7-2018]

Oral Accounts of the Sakya 'Bag mo, Past and Present Voices of the Terrifying Witches of Sakya. Sara Conrad. MA Thesis, June 2012. Indiana University.