The present work and the following lot are from a larger group of sculptures depicting the Tanma Chunyi, the Twelve Goddesses of Tibet. The Tanma Chunyi is composed of female mountain deities that were indigenous to Tibet prior to the introduction of Buddhism in the 8th century. They were incorporated into the religion by Padmasambhava as guardian deities, and were subsequently worshipped by the Nyingma, Kagyu and Gelug sects.
The Tanma Chunyi are most commonly found as part of the retinue of Shri Devi Magzor Gyalmo, an important deity in the Gelugpa tradition. It is likely the following two works, along with other retinue figures, would have accompanied a larger sculpture of Shri Devi.
Two additional deities from the Tanma Chunyi exist in the collection of the Musée Guimet (see G. Beguin, Tibet, Terreur et Magie, pp. 27 and 29, cat. nos. 4 and 5). The stylistic similarity between the Guimet works and the present lots indicate they are of the same atelier or set. While iconographically Tibetan, these sculptures are distinctly Chinese in style, and the large size, not only of the figures themselves, but of the larger group, suggest it would have been for an important commission.