Himalayan Art Resources

Bon Deity: Sipai Gyalmo (Riding a Bird)

Sipai Gyalmo (Riding a Bird) | Sipai Gyalmo Main Page

Sipai Gyalmo Riding a Bird. There are seven or more different forms of Sipai Gyalmo. This form is wrathful in appearance, dark blue in colour, with one face and two hands, holding a lasso and a vase, riding atop a bird.

Sipai Gyalmo (Queen of the World) is both a meditational deity and a protector. She has six principal manifestations (white, yellow, red, black, blue and dark brown) and twenty-eight retinue attendant figures.

In the Bon religion the Queen of the World is the most wrathful manifestation of the peaceful deity Loving Mother of Wisdom (T. Sherab Chamma). In her main form she is fierce in appearance, black in color, with three faces and six arms holding weapons and implements of power and control. The three right hands hold a victory banner, flaming sword and a peg. The left hands hold a trident, svastika wand, and a skullcup filled with blood. Each of these symbolically represents cutting the knots of illusion and rooting out the three poisons of greed, anger and delusion. Riding on a red mule, she sits atop a flayed human skin symbolising impermanence while the brightly burning flames of wisdom fire surround her.

The Queen of the World is both a meditational deity and a protector. She is one of the most frequently propitiated figures in the Bon religion, and extends her protection to both religious practitioners and common people. Though horrific and wrathful in form she embodies the qualities of wisdom and compassion. Embroidered works of art were commonly commissioned by Tibetans although manufactured in China.

Jeff Watt [2-2005]