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HOME : Asian Art : Art of Tibet : Sino-Tibetan Figure of Jambhala (Kubera), God of Wealth
Sino-Tibetan Figure of Jambhala (Kubera), God of Wealth - PH.0178
Origin: China/Tibet
Circa: 17 th Century AD to 19 th Century AD

Collection: Asian art
Style: Sino-Tibetan Style
Medium: Metal Gilt

Location: Great Britain
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This Sino-Tibetan figure depicts Jambhala, the Buddhist deity who is associated with wealth. In Tibetan Buddhism, Jambhala is the god of riches and the guardian of the northern direction. He is a deity of material and spiritual wealth as well as many other things, especially of granting financial stability. Jambhala is the Buddhist equivalent of Kubera, the ancient nature spirit (yaksha) absorbed in early Hinduism as the protector of jewels and other treasures, and Vaisravana, the guardian of the North in Buddhism. He is a popular deity not only in India but also in Nepal and Tibet.

This statuette is a beautiful example of the Sino-Tibetan tradition of Buddhist statuary. Situated at the crossroads of present-day India, Nepal and China, the Tibetan Buddhist deity incorporates elements from the different cultures while retaining a distinct Tibetan style. In this statuette, Jambhala has silvery skin and sits in the pose of royal ease. He wears the Bodhisattva ornaments such as the decorated crown, beads necklaces and draped shawl. He also wears a snake necklace on his body. Jambhala holds a mongoose named Nehulay spits out precious jewels in his left hand and a fruit (or a flaming wish-fulfilling jewel) in his right hand. The Jambhala’s right leg is resting on an extension of the lotus flower pedestal. This extension appears to be a distinct petal of the lotus flower and supports the deity’s foot with ease. The lotus flower base, commonly seen in Sino-Tibetan sculpture, is surrounded by beaded edge.

(Reference : Anne R. Bromberg. The Arts of India, South East Asia, and the Himalayas. Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art; New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013. 69-70.)
- (PH.0178)


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