Arts of Asia

click text above for preview
Back to Later Tibet

Later Tibetan Gallery



Ritual Ornament
Tibet or Nepal, 16th Century

This ornament depicts three Offering Goddesses,( in Sanskrit, Piyadevata and in Tibetan, mChod pa'i lhamo, pronounced, Chopay Lhamo). These sky inhabiting minor deities bring success to a ritual with their spiritual offerings which they bestow secretly on the ritual master and those attending. Objects similar to this are worn in Nepalese tantric rituals as armlets by the ritual priest.

The whole shape is surrounded by a floral garland which emerges from the mouth of a figure at the bottom known as a kirtimukha, or Face of Glory. The kirtimukha is a nature deity and his Indian/Nepalese form bears great similarity to the Green Man of European mythology, whose function is similar. (see W. Anderson The Face of Glory Bloomsbury Press, 1996.)

The goddesses are naked (in Tibetan referred to as "sky clad") as they represent absolute purity of nature and therefore have no pretence and nothing to hide. Hence their openness to the world is shown as nakedness.

Height 16cm

All Pictures and Text - © Arts Of Asia 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006