Offerings to the Goddess Palden Lhamo

Date: late 16th century

Culture: Tibet

Medium: Distemper on cloth

Dimensions: 67 x 44 1/8 in. (170.2 x 112 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Gift of Frances Gould-Naftal and Marvin Naftal, 1983

Accession Number: 1983.510.1

Description

Palden Lhamo is the principal protectress of Tibet and the only female of the Eight Guardians of the dharma. This black-ground (Tibetan: nag thang) painting was installed in the chapel (gonkhang) dedicated to the wrathful protective deities (dharmapalas), a room reserved for tantric initiation rites within a Tibetan monastery. The exceptional scale and complexity of the composition relate the painting to the offering-scene murals known as “sets of ornaments” (Tibetan: rgyan tshogs) that adorn the interiors of shrines dedicated to the dharmapalas. At center, the wrathful four-armed goddess Palden Lhamo, emaciated and fearful, is shown riding her mule.

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