Requires Photography

The Five Protector Kings (Dam-can) and Padmasambhava

18th century

Object Place: Tibet


44.5 x 27.5 cm (17 1/2 x 10 13/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Distemper and gold on cotton, mounted Japanese-style on paper with silk brocade

Not On View





Painting in hanging scroll (thangka) format, with no streamers or veil.

The central figure of Pehar (“chief of the kings”) has white skin, six arms (holding a sword, bow and arrow, elephant goad, knife and club (?)), and wears a wide-brimmed hat. He rides a white lion which tramples two naked prostrate figures. Around him, in the four corners, are the other protector kings who were summoned by Padmasambhava when he wished to gain protection for the new monastery of bSamyas. Each wears a wide-brimmed hat and rides an animal. In the lower left, the 3rd king is blue with 2 arms carrying a vajra and an alarm staff and wears long flowing robes, riding a snow lion. In the lower right, the second king is blue, holds a knife and a lasso, and rides a white elephant. In the upper left, the fifth king is red, holds an axe and a lasso, and rides a black horse. In the upper right, the forth king is red, holds an elephant goad and a club, and rides a mule. At the upper center, Padmasambhava sits wearing a pandit’s hat (not his usual hat). At the lower center, a large skull cup is filled with offerings of three tormas.


1921, William Sturgis Bigelow, Boston, MA; 1921, gift of Bigelow to the MFA. (Accession Date: April 7, 1921)

Credit Line

William Sturgis Bigelow Collection