Skip to main content

Ushnishasitatapattra, She Who Shelters with the White Parasol

c. 18th century
Artist/maker unknown, Tibetan or Mongolian
The border on this work is a trompe l'oeil-a painting of Chinese brocades rather than the silks themselves. At the center stands Ushnishasitatapattra, the embodiment of all the buddhas' qualities (shown by the five colors of her thousand heads). Reality-altering power emanates from her ushnisha, a cranial bump. Her many feet trample multicolored figures, suggesting her control over the realms of gods, demigods, men, and animals. The shaft of her white parasol disappears into a fire-rimmed pool that represents the natural disasters such as fires, floods, and earthquakes from which she protects her worshipers. At the apex of her heads, two Tibetan Buddhist monks soar in the clouds, signifying their freedom from earthly needs and desires.

Object Details

We are always open to learning more about our collections and updating the website. Does this record contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? Contact us here.

Please note that this particular artwork might not be on view when you visit. Don’t worry—we have plenty of exhibitions for you to explore.