Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist Worldly Protector: Tanma Chunyi

Tanma Chunyi (Twelve Goddesses) Main Page | Mountain Gods Main Page

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Tanma Chunyi Explanation (below)
- Tanma Chunyi Mural Set
- Tanma Chunyi (Prajnaparamita) Block Print Set
- Sculpture Set
- Shri Devi Magzor Gyalmo
- Dorje Yudronma
- Tseringma Main Page
- Mountain Gods Outline Page
- Masterworks
- Confusions
- Others...

The Twelve Goddesses, Tibetan indigenous deities, are believed to have been subjugated by Padmasambhava in the 8th century. They are closely related to Tseringma of the Kagyu Tradition. The Twelve along with Tseringma and her sisters are commonly found in the retinue of Shri Devi Magzor Gyalmo especially after the 17th century. A 15th century painting of Magzorma does include Tseringma and the Twelve Goddesses in a single composition.

Dorje Yudronma is sometimes presented as the leader of the Tanma Chunyi, however it is most likely that is only found in specific traditions and cannot be applied universally. The popularity of local and regional Tibetan protector deities based on mountain gods and local deities is primarily due to the 5th Dalai Lama, Lobzang Gyatso, in the 17th century. It would appear that he used local deities as one of the many methods to unify Tibet.

Twelve Goddesses:
The Four Dumo (Mara):
- Dagnyi Chenmo Dorje Kundragma (lion mount)
- Palden Hari Dorje Yema Kyong (mule, kyang?)
- Gang Kyi Yumchen Dorje Kuntu Zang (lion)
- Drogchen Kor Dul Dorje Geg Kyi Tso (camel)

The Four Nujin (Yaksha)
- Gangkar Shame Dorje Yubunma (kyang, deer?)
- Khar Kyung Tsun Dorje Pal Gyi Yum (kyung)
- Serchen Khading Dorje Lumo Gyal (horse)
- Mari Rabjam Dorje Dragmo Gyal (wolf, bear?)

The Four Menmo:
- Kong Tsun Demo Dorje Bod Kham Kyong (tiger)
- Mentsun Ugcho Dorje Yarmo Sil (deer, kyang?)
- Tsanla Loro Dorje Menchigma (buffalo)
- Yuyi Drilbu Dorje Zulema (nine-headed tortoise, otter?)

Jeff Watt 9-2007 [updated 8-2017]