Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist Worldly Protector: Tanma Chunyi

Mountain Gods Main Page

- Tanma Chunyi Iconography & Art History

- Mountain Gods Outline Page


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.

Jeff Watt 9-2007 [updated 8-2017, 3-2020]


Bibliography:

Tse-ring-mched-lnga (the Five Sisters of Long Life) and bsTan-ma-bcu-nyis (the Twelve Guardian Goddesses), pages 131-171. The Tibetan Tantric Vision. Krishna Ghosh Della Santina. D.K.Printworld Ltd., New Delhi. 2003.

(The images below are only a selection of examples from the links above).