Attributes of Ma-cig dpal-gyi Lha-mo in a "rgyan tshogs" banner. Distemper painting by a Tibetan painter.

Part of:
Fifteen banners from a Tibetan Protector chapel.
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About this work


The goddess who is the subject of this painting has the Sanskrit name of Śrīmatī Devī, 'Glorious Mother Goddess'; in Tibetan, Ma-cig dPal-gyi Lha-mo. She is the peaceful aspect of dPal-ldan Lha-mo (Machik Palden Lhamo), who appears in this series in the third place on the right-hand side in the temple and who is the protectress of the city of Lhasa. Ma-cig's place is indicated on the top of the verso of the banner as the fifth on the right-hand side

A five-jewelled mirror-crown and a pair of large kings and queens earrings show where her head would be, a necklace where her neck would be expected, and a green on white flowered robe with a green inset in the centre where her body would be. The robe is draped above a lotus flower, and is flanked by an arrow with five coloured silk ribbons, an oracular mirror, and a bowl of jewels, which are the usual hand-held attributes of Śrīmatī Devī. Along the upper edge there are jewels, a victory banner, and a peacock's tail, showing that she is an aspect of Lha-mo whose emblem it is. There are an emblem of the sun and moon, leaves sprouting forth, a pomegranate fruit for fertility, a jar with peonies for long life, the Eight Auspicious Things, an elephant for strength, a horse for swiftness, a beer jar for celebration, a fly whisk for purification, an offering cake for spiritual nourishment and a butter lamp for spiritual light. In this banner there are only peaceful emblems



Physical description

1 painting : distemper on linen ; distemper 62 x 48 cm.

References note

Marianne Winder, Catalogue of Tibetan manuscripts and xylographs, and catalogue of thankas, banners and other paintings and drawings in the Library of the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, London 1989, pp. 90-91, thankas banners and paintings no. 28
Gyurme Dorje, 'A rare series of Tibetan banners', in N. Allan (ed.), Pearls of the orient: Asian treasures of the Wellcome Library, London 2003, pp. 161-177 (pp. 172 and fig. 11)


Wellcome Collection 47062i

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