The god of wealth and king of the yakshas has a peaceful and several wrathful forms.
14th century, Nepal, Yellow Jambhala (labelled Kubera), brass, private collection, photo by Galerie Petillon.
Yellow Jambhala has a peaceful appearance and always holds a jewel-spitting mongoose in his left hand and a lemon in the other.
18th century, Tibet (or China?), Black Jambhala, gilt bronze with stone inlay, private collection, photo by Lempertz
Black Jambhala has a wrathful appearance and holds a skull cup in his right hand and a mongoose disgorging a jewel in the other. The above has a Mongolian or Chinese hairstyle, with the flaming hair slanting to his left side.
18th century, Tibet, White Jambhala (labelled Vaishravana), gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Cambiaste.
Himalayan sculptures of White Jambhala are often late Chinese-style works on which the mongoose is not depicted. He has a wrathful appearance and may ride a dragon, a lion or a mongoose. He holds a sword or a stick in his right hand and may have a ritual staff and/or a banner propped against his left arm. The above (published in a previous post) is seated on a lion and holds a lemon and a mongoose.
When depicted with his consort, Red Jambhala has one head and four hands, he holds a wheel in each right hand and a mongoose in each left hand.
VAISHRAVANA AND RETINUE
Undated, (Tibet?), gilt metal, Vaishravana, private collection, published on Himalayan Art resources.
Worldly protector Vaishravana, guardian of the north on a mandala, (nearly) always wears a Mongolian armour and holds a closed parasol or victory banner in his right hand and a mongoose in the other. He usually sits on a snow lion.
15th century, Himalayan Region, Vaishravana, metal, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.
On this rare example he doesn’t wear an armour and looks more like yellow Jambhala but the object in his right hand isn’t a lemon (it looks like the handle of a parasol or banner) and he sits on a snow lion (although we did see one rare case of Yellow Jambhala seated on a lion, he had a lemon in his left hand). His mongoose is vomiting extraordinarily large jewels.
Undated, Tibet, Vaishravana retinue figure, stone, at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York (USA)
Vaishravana has a retinue of eight horsemen (often labelled ‘Vaishravana’) who hold a mongoose in one hand and an attribute in the other (the Himalayan Art Resources website give a list and description of each). The above has a triratna in his right hand.
Circa 11th century, Nepal, Kubera, gilt copper, private collection, photo by Christie’s.
Hardly present in Himalayan Buddhist sculptures, in the Hindu religion Kubera/Kuber/Kuvera is the king of the yakshas and the Lord of Wealth (Jambhala in the Himalayas), and a lokapala (Vaishravana in Buddhist art). Like the yakshas, he is naked and has a dwarfish appearance. He may hold various attributes in his right hand, a sheaf of wheat and sometimes a mongoose in the left one.
Despite their name, the twelve Yaksha general who are part of the medicine buddha retinue don’t wear an armour. They have a regal appearance, coiffed with a foliate crown with bows and ribbons, adorned with jewellery and a shawl or scarf, wearing a long lower garment loosely wrapping their legs and showing their bare feet. All of them hold in their left hand a mongoose disgorging jewels.
18th century, Tibet or Sino-Tibetan, Yaksha general (labelled Jambhala), gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Lempertz.
Five of them hold a stick. This may be the one with the dark blue skin.
18th-19th century, Tibet, Yaksha general (labelled Jambhala), gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Lempertz.
The only one who holds a lasso has yellow skin.
Undated, Tibet, Yaksha general, gilt bronze, at the American Museum of Natural History in New York (USA).
The one who holds a vajra sceptre is among four who have a yellow body.
17th century, Tibet, arhat Bakula, gilt bronze (copper alloy), at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
This arhat is identified by the jewel-spitting mongoose he holds in both hands.
13th century, Tibet, Dakini, private collection, photo by Christie’s.
In the Tibetan section of this blog we saw this rare Nepalese-style sculpture of a dakini holding a mongoose by the neck with her left hand.
15th century, Tibet, Densatil, Dorje Rabtenman, Freer & Sackler Gallery.
The form of Shri Devi known as Dorje Rabtenma in Tibet also holds a mongoose disgorging jewels.