Tibet, Yellow Jambhala

Jambhala exists under several forms but in sculptures the most common one is the yellow form (thus called because his body is yellow on paintings). Yellow Jambhala is a wealth deity and an emanation of buddha Ratnasambhava. He is also an emanation of wordly protector Vaishravana, with whom he is often confused as they both hold a jewel-spitting mongoose in their left hand. However, unlike the lokapala, Jambhala is never dressed in armour and boots, he is adorned with bodhisattva attire and he holds an egg-shaped citrus fruit and sometimes a lotus leaf in his right hand. He has one head with three eyes. Some Indian sculptures show him with bared fangs and a garland of skulls but this is not a tradition in Tibet, where he normally smiles and wears a garland of flowers.

Undated, Tibet, Yellow Jambhala, at the Pacific Asia Museum.

16th century, Tibet, Yellow Jambhala, at the Pacific Asia Museum.

He may be standing, but is usually sitting, with one leg drawn in and the other foot resting on a lotus bud sometimes topped with a conch shell (on the above sculpture his foot is resting on a long-life vase and he has a long-life vase resting on his inner right arm). He usually has a fat belly and a jovial face.

12th-13th century, Tibet or Bihar, White Jambhala, bronze,

12th-13th century, Tibet or Bihar, Jambhala, bronze and pigment, at the Newark Museum (USA).

This is one of many Pala-style sculptures of Yellow Jambhala. The British Museum has a very similar one on a lower base with a single row of lotus petals.

Undated, Tibet, Jambhala, BM

Undated, Tibet, bronze, at the British Museum.

13th century, Western Tibet, Yellow Jambhala, bronze, at the Freer Sackler Gallery.

13th century, Western Tibet, Yellow Jambhala, bronze and pigment, at the Freer Sackler Gallery.

This is a rare representation of Yellow Jambhala, with a  very sturdy body, sitting on a double-lotus base adorned with effigies of a figure that looks very much like him.

Tibet, 13th century circa., copper alloy, 18,3 cm, Jambhala with attributes (citron fruit and mongoose) private collection

Tibet, 13th century circa., copper alloy, private collection on Himalayan Art Resources, also published by Carlton Rochell.

The above figure has an exageratedly tall Pala-style chignon topped with a finial, a small crown held with ribbons and decorated with large bows, some large hoops on his ears, some jewellery and a garland of flowers around his neck. He has a broad Tibetan-style face and short sturdy limbs, his navel is a hole punched into the metal. The shape of the petals on the tall Pala-style lotus base is common to 13th and 14th century Tibetan works.

13th century, Tibet, copper alloy, private collection on Himalayan Art Resources.

13th century, Tibet, copper alloy, private collection on Himalayan Art Resources.

The above figure has very short legs compared to the rest of his body. Instead of a garland he is wearing a celestial scarf which forms a modest loop at elbow level.

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