Damchen Garwa Nagpo
DateLate 19th century
MediumMineral pigments and gold on sized cloth
DimensionsMat : 14 x 11 in. (35.56 x 27.94 cm)
Work : 6 1/4 x 5 in. (15.88 x 12.7 cm)
Credit LineHope College Collection
According to legend, Damchen Garwa Nagpo was originally a blacksmith who once took a vow to protect Buddhism and was subsequently transformed into a fearsome guardian deity. He is typically portrayed riding on a goat, wearing a lacquered riding hat and riding clothes, and holding a hammer and tiger-skin bellows to remind devotees of his former occupation. In Mongolia, Damchen Garwa Nagpo was traditionally regarded as a special protector of the Gelug and Nyingma orders. He was also invoked by lay Buddhists as the patron saint of craftsmen and gamblers. A 19th-century Mongolian text says that burning goat fat when making an offering to Damchen Garwa Nagpo will inspire the deity to answer those prayers more quickly.