Trinity of unidentified Buddhist or Bon deities
  See it in the Museum
Orientation 3
Display 5

ABS 062

 Code: ABS 062

  Country: Tibet


  Date: 1300 - 1400

  Dimensions in cm WxHxD: 13.5 x 9.2 x 3.4

  Materials: Fine-grained beige stone

Trinity of unidentified Buddhist or Bon deities 

These three male deities of different height still await a correct identification. They are stepping out in to the right in the warrior-stance (pratyalidhasana). All three are wearing a tiger skin (vyaghracarma) tied below their protruding belliesThe deity on the right brandishes a sword (khanga) with the right uplifted hand, and the deity on the left, a staff (danda). With the left hand in the gesture of threatening (tarjani-mudra), they hold a noose (pasha), an attribute of wrathful deities to catch and ensnare the enemies of Buddhism. 

Before Buddhism took hold in Tibet, the shamanic Bön religion was predominant, in which numerous nature deities were worshipped. These deities were later syncretised in Mahayana Buddhism. This means that they were assigned the role of protectors of Buddha's teachings.

Protectors are usually depicted as wrathful and belligerent. Although the followers of Bön were persecuted for several centuries with the establishment of MahayanaBuddhism as the state religion under Trisong Detsen from 755, Bön was restructured and revived in the 11th century. Today, Bön is recognised by the current Dalai Lama as the fifth religious school. However, modern Bön is no longer very different from the other schools of Tibetan Mahayana Buddhism.