Magzor Gyalmo, the Queen Who Repels Armies

18th century

Rubin Museum of Art

Rubin Museum of Art
New York, United States

The Glorious Goddess, the Queen Who Repels Armies, is understood as a class of female protector deities that includes many forms and many different variations on the early origin myth. Some claim that there are twenty-one attested to in popular prayer; others say that some of these forms are indigenous to the Himalayas and Tibet. In ancient Tibetan texts, possibly of Indian origin, the Glorious Goddess has a list of one hundred names. Portrayed with four arms, she is considered the principal and original form of the goddess, similar to the Hindu goddess Kali.

The Queen Who Repels Armies, appearing with just two arms, is another form in this class. Based on her specific origin myth, she is said to be the fearsome manifestation of the Hindu goddess Sarasvati, popular in Hinduism and Buddhism. In the Bon religion the Queen of the World is similar to the Buddhist Glorious Goddess and the Hindu Kali in both appearance and function.


  • Title: Magzor Gyalmo, the Queen Who Repels Armies
  • Date: 18th century
  • Date Created: 18th century
  • Physical Dimensions: H 56.125 x W 39.5 x D 1.25 in.
  • Type: Textile
  • Rights: Rubin Museum of Art, F1996.19.1
  • Medium: Silk appliqué with pearls
  • Place of Creation: Mongolia
  • Exhibition History: Rubin Museum of Art, "Masterworks: Jewels of the Collection" (08/07/13 - 01/13/14), Rubin Museum of Art, "Embodying the Holy: Icons in Eastern Orthodox Christianity and Tibetan Buddhism" (10/05/10 - 03/07/11), Rubin Museum of Art, "Beyond Chinggis Kahn: Mongolia Past and Present" (11/03/06 - 04/16/07), Rubin Museum of Art, "Female Buddhas: Women of Enlightenment in Himalayan Art" (06/04/05 - 01/15/06), Oglethorpe University Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA, "Female Buddhas: Women of Enlightenment in Tibetan Mysticism" (09/14/02 - 04/15/03; 06/12/03 - 08/24/03)

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