Tibetan 18th century gilt bronze figure of Palden Lhamo. She is the only female
among the eight great dharmapalas, the protectors of Buddhism; in particular she
is a guardian deity of Dalai Lamas and their government in Lhasa. She was also
worshipped as a protector of the Imperial China from the Yuen dynasty (1271-1368)
to the end of the Qing in the twentieth century.
this impressively detailed statue, The face of Palden Lhamo is painted in cold
gold. In a striking pose she is seated sideways on her mule, a flayed human skin
saddle blanket under her. She has upswept red hair, three glaring eyes, and her
opened mouth is holding a corpse in its large fangs. She wears a human head rosary,
which symbolizes the conquest of evil; she wears a lion earring on her right ear,
and a snake earring on her left ear to indicate her power over the nagas. In her
left hand she carries a skull cup containing blood. Her raised right hand may
have once held a trident which is now missing. Her mule stands on a gilded lacquered
base carved into swirling fire and wave motifs. The repousse base represents Lake
Lhamo Latso in Southern Tibet, a holy lake where Tibetans search for clues to
the reincarnations of Dalai Lamas. The statue is consecrated and sealed on the
underside of the mule.
bronze Lhamo is in excellent condition, it was formerly in the collection of BBC
foreign correspondent Ivor Jones (1916-1990).