Nepal, Thakuri period – Jambhala

11th century, Jambhala, copper alloy, at the Pacific Asia Museum (USA).

11th century, Jambhala, copper alloy, at the Pacific Asia Museum (USA).

Yellow Jambhala is seated on a double-lotus base with a row of stamen, his right leg extended, a citrus fruit in his right hand and a mongoose in the other. He wears a low crown with rosettes, a sacred thread, and bodhisattva jewellery with a large floral design. The ends of his lower garment are gathered at the front and tucked under his ankle. We will notice that the folds of the breasts, the crook of the elbows, the navel and the soles of the feet are marked with incisions.

12th century circa, Nepal, Jambhala, copper, private collection, photo by Peaceful Wind Gallery

12th century circa, Nepal, Jambhala, copper, private collection, photo by Peaceful Wind Gallery.

Despite the damage on this pure copper sculpture, Yellow Jambhala is identified through the position of his legs and hands, the mongoose in his left hand and the fact that he is slightly pot-bellied. It is worth nothing that on these Nepalese sculptures his mongoose is not vomitting jewels.

11th-12th century, Nepal,Kathmandu Valley, Jambhala (labelled Kubera), copper alloy, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (USA).

11th-12th century, Nepal,Kathmandu Valley, Jambhala (labelled Kubera), copper alloy, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (USA).

The pot-bellied deity is seated on a throne supported by two lions, his right foot resting on a conch over a lotus flower attached to the base. He is adorned with a low crown, bulky armbands and three necklaces of various lengths.

Undated, Nepal, Kubera, copper alloy, same as before.

Possibly 12th century, Nepal, Jambhala (labelled Kubera), copper alloy, same as before.

The mongoose is missing from his hand but the citrus fruit identifies him as Yellow Jambhala, who sometimes holds the animal by the neck. Kubera would hold other attributes that do not include a citron.

12th century, Nepal, Yellow Jambhala, brass, private collection, photo by Christie's.

12th century (or later?), Nepal, Yellow Jambhala, brass, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

The use of brass, the five-leaf crown, the serpentine ribbons and the celestial scarf wrapped around the forearms and flowing upwards in a snake-like shape point to a later date for this  Chinese-style work.

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