Figures with mongoose

JAMBHALA

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, Black Jambhala, gilt bronze (copper alloy) and stones, 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 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.

Lokapala 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.

KUBERA

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.

 

YAKSHA GENERALS

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.

 

HISTORICAL CHARACTERS

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.

 

OTHERS

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.

 

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Phagpa Lokeshvara, variants (3)

Undated, Tibet or Nepal?, Phagpa Lokeshvara, wood, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Most wooden sculptures of Phagpa Lokeshvara have reached us with one or several limbs broken.  Apart from his hairstyle, crown and earrings, which are enough to identify him, the left hand gripping the thigh is specific to this form of Avalokiteshvara.

Same as before.

Like the oldest example known so far, the above has an effigy of himself on the front panel of his crown, which is only slightly taller than his hair. His sash is broader and knotted to one side, the end folded to form an elegant swallow-tail design.

14th century, Central Tibet, Phagpa Lokeshvara, polychrome wood, at the Rietberg Museum in Amsterdam (The Netherlands).

A magnificent and well-preserved example, with Tibetan-style  facial features, square shoulders, marked pectorals and broad limbs.

His dhoti, much shorter on one side, is painted with a golden star-like floral motif on a black background, the sash is decorated with spirals.

His body, face and earrings are painted with cold gold, the hair is dyed with blue pigment.

The flaming arch behind him follows a classic Nepalese design: lotuses supporting elephants, viyalas, makaras, linked to the garuda at the top with foliated scrolls. The lotus pedestal on which he stands is on a stepped throne supported by kinnaras (normally on the arch), snow lions and a yaksha. The edges are decorated with embossed vajra sceptres and lotuses.

Phagpa Lokeshvara, variants (2)

Undated (14th century circa?), Tibet?, wood, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Quite different from the original in proportions, he holds his right hand at the same awkward angle and also has an effigy of himself on the front panel of his crown. The developed pectorals and the facial features point to a Tibetan artist.

Undated, Tibetan or Nepalese artist, Phagpa Lokeshvara, wood, at Tabo Monastery in Himachal Pradesh, published by Ian Alsop (see link in left-hand column).This one has a lotus flower on the front panel of his crown.

Undated, Tibet or Nepal, polychrome wood, private collection, photo by Spink & Son.

Dressed in a tight-fitting ankle-length dhoti decorated with a small geometrical motif, coupled with a broad sash, he holds an object in his left hand.

Undated, Tibet or Nepal, gilt wood, private collection, same as before.

A slim figure with long legs,  a soft sash worn low down and knotted to one side, decorated with foliated scrolls.

His hair and facial features have been painted with pigments.

Undated, Tibet or Nepal, wood and cold gold, pigments, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Another figure with long legs, and a particularly tall headdress. It is worth noting that on these sculptures the height of the crown is almost double that of the folded hair (unlike the prototype at the Potala).

His face is painted with cold gold, the facial features and the hair with pigments.

We have seen such short dhotis painted with a geometrical motif in black and red/ochre on wooden works made during the Nepalese Malla period. This one also wears his sash very low down, but the end is stiff and rectangular.

Nepal, Late Malla Achala

16th century, Nepal, Achala, gilt copper alloy and stone inlay, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (USA).

16th century, Nepal, Achala, gilt copper alloy and stone inlay, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (USA).

This rare Nepalese sculpture of Achala (far more common in Tibet) is a good example of the refined craftsmanship of Newari artists during the Malla period. The deity is half crouching and half kneeling, brandishing his sword and holding his (missing) lasso, clad in a short dhoti incised with a floral motif and held in place with a belt – its pendant ribbon studded with gems. He wears a crown with bows and ribbons, plain armbands and bangles, hoops, beaded anklets, a short necklace with large cabochons typical of the late Malla period, and a celestial scarf with leaves and buds coming out of the extremities.

Nepal, Avalokiteshvara – shadbhuja

16th century, Nepal, Three Malla Kingdoms, gilt copper alloy, at the Asia Society Museum in New York (USA).

16th century, Nepal, Three Malla Kingdoms, Avalokiteshvara, gilt copper alloy, at the Asia Society Museum in New York (USA).

In his one-head and six-arm form (shadbhuja), Avalokiteshvara sits with a leg pendant, holding a fly whisk, a thunderbolt and a noose in his right hands, a vajra-hook, a long-stem lotus and a water pot in his left hands. There is an effigy of Amitabha in his headdress and a tall rectangular urna on his forehead.  He wears an antelope skin knotted across his chest, a sash, an ankle-length dhoti richly incised with a floral motif, princely jewellery including large floral earrings. Unlike the majority of images seen so far, he wears a sacred thread over his right shoulder rather than on the other side. A devotee is kneeling on a lotus bud that stems from the central column which supports the large lotus flower on which he sits.

Late Malla Avalokiteshvara – unusual

17th century, Nepal, Avalokiteshvara, gilt copper alloy with turquoise and pigments, published by Marcel Nies on asianart.com

17th century, Nepal, Avalokiteshvara, gilt copper alloy with turquoise and pigments, published by Marcel Nies on asianart.com

This eleven-head Avalokiteshvara has 10 hands instead of eight, a feature specific to Nepal. His main hands are in prayer at heart level holding  a wish-granting gem. The other right hands hold a dharma wheel, a rosary and an effigy of Amitabha, the lower one displays the varada mudra. In the remaining left hands he holds a flaming pearl, a  vase of immortality, a bow and arrow, a lotus flower.

17th-18th c., Nepal, Padmapani, rock crystal, private collection, published on castor-hara.com

17th-18th c., Nepal, Padmapani, rock crystal, private collection, published on castor-hara.com.

Both in Tibet and Nepal, rock crystal sculptures of Avalokiteshara are few and usually late works. This one is adorned with a tiara,  a V-shaped necklace typical of the Late Malla period, matching armbands, two bracelets, a sacred thread,  earrings shaped like lotus buds. He wears a short dhoti held in place with a belt and a sash worn diagonally and knotted to one side. The short legs and big feet are in contrast with the upper part of the body and the fine facial features, pointing to a late date within the Malla period.

Late 17th century, Nepal, Avalokiteshvara, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby's.

Late 17th century, Nepal, Avalokiteshvara, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

Avalokiteshvara is seated  in a relaxed manner, his right hand resting over his knee, the left one leaning on the double lotus base. There is an antelope skin knotted across his chest, an effigy of Amitabha in his chignon, a long-stem lotus to his left, all of which correspond to the popular padmapani form although he wears no crown or jewellery but for a small necklace (like much earlier Himalayan sculptures, in particular from the Swat Valley).

18th century, Nepal, Avalokiteshvara, gilt copper alloy, at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum (USA).

18th century, Nepal, Avalokiteshvara, gilt copper alloy, at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum (USA).

This image, adorned with large floral jewellery inlaid with stones, shows him displaying the vitarka mudra with his right hand and holding a pot of water in the other (in the manner of Gandharan works),  an attribute not normally seen on Nepalese sculptures of this bodhisattva.

Nepal, Cintamani Lokeshvara

16th century circa, Nepal, Chintamani Lokeshvara, wood and paint, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (USA).

16th century circa, Nepal, Chintamani Lokeshvara, wood and paint, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (USA).

This form of Avalokiteshvara, with one head and two hands, stands under a wish-fulfilling tree and usually displays the varada mudra with the right hand and holds a gem or a bunch of jewels at head level with his left hand. We have already seen a full size picture of the above (standing between 2 trees) in a previous post, published the wrong way round. This partial image shows him the right way round, with the jewels in the left hand.

Undated (Late Malla period), Nepal, Chintamani Lokeshvara, copper alloy, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Undated (Late Malla period), Nepal, Chintamani Lokeshvara, copper alloy, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Specific to the Newar culture, this form of Avalokiteshvara seems to have been particularly popular during the late Malla period. The above stands under one tree, with jewelled leaves.

17th century, Nepal, Avalokiteshvara, Chintamani, stone, photo by Marcel Nies on asianart.com

Chintamani Lokeshvara, Nepal, Malla Kingdoms, circa 1600. stone, photo by Marcel Nies, published on asianart.com

Like the first image, this Chintamani (or Cintamani) Lokeshvara stands between two trees that meet to form an arch. There is an effigy of Amitabha at the top, a kneeling monkey to the right of the bodhisattva above head level, a bird on the other side, gems and flowers in the tree. He holds a circular gem in his right hand and a bunch of gems in the other. A devotee is kneeling at his feet while another figure is carrying a bag of riches away. He is adorned with the traditional floral jewellery and a thick garland of woven leaves and flowers.

Chintamani Lokeshvara, Nepal, 1613, stone, at Svayanbhu, Nepal.

Chintamani Lokeshvara, Nepal, 1613, stone, at the Svayambhu Museum, Nepal.

This is a similar (but larger) work, without the two figures at his feet. The jewels on the tree(s) are studded with red stones or glass.

17th century, Nepal, Cintamani Lokeshvara, gilt copper and stones, at the Nelson Atkins Museum (USA).

17th century, Nepal, Cintamani Lokeshvara, gilt copper and stones, at the Nelson Atkins Museum (USA).

On this metal sculpture he holds a wish-granting gem in the right hand, held in varada mudra, and a bunch of jewels in the other. The lotus pedestal with the tree is missing but this is the only form of Avalokiteshvara with jewels in the left hand and the other displaying the gesture of generosity.