Historical period(s)
13th century
Bronze with traces of pigment
H x W x D: 41 x 25 x 23 cm (16 1/8 x 9 13/16 x 9 1/16 in)
Western Tibet
Credit Line
Purchase — Smithsonian Unrestricted Trust Funds
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Metalwork, Sculpture


Buddhism, casting, Jambala, lemon, mongoose, Nakula, Tibet, WWII-era provenance
Provenance research underway.

The chubby body of Jambhala, the Buddhist deity of riches, denotes prosperity. Seated comfortably on a lotus throne, he grasps a mongoose—Nakula, receptacle of all treasures—which spews jewels from its mouth. The god holds a lemon in his right hand and rests his foot on a vessel of longlife; both items are also attributes of Jambhala’s female counterpart, the goddess Vasudhara.

The sculpture is remarkable for its dynamism and majestic presence. Jambhala’s smiling face displays traces of gold paint; his hair is painted the deep blue of lapis lazuli, which Tibetan Buddhists value for its beauty.

Published References
  • Thomas Lawton, Thomas W. Lentz. Beyond the Legacy: Anniversary Acquisitions for the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. vol. 1 Washington, 1998. p. 105.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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