The Buddha and the Sacred Site

Goddess Palden Lhamo

  • 14
  • Central Tibet, Densatil Monastery
  • 15th century
  • Gilt copper alloy, color, and semiprecious stones
  • H. 22 1/2 x W. 22 3/4 x D. 5 3/4 in. (57.2 x 57.5 x 14.5 cm)
  • Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.: Purchase Friends of Asian Arts in honor of the 10th Anniversary of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, S1997.27
  • Lhasa
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This decorative element from the base of a funerary stupa (called chorten in Tibetan) shows Palden Lhamo, the protective deity of Tibet's capital, Lhasa. The stupa was one of the many structures created for the elaborately decorated Densatil Monastery in central Tibet. During the fifteenth century, Densatil was one of the wealthiest monasteries in Tibet. Palden Lhamo appears here on a wild donkey striding on a lotus base. She has three eyes said to flash like lightning and brandishes a sword.

PHOTO CREDIT: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

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