Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Jambhala (Buddhist Deity) - Red (Trapa Ngonshe Lineage)

ཛམ་བྷཱ་ལྷ། ནང་ལྷ། 财神(佛教本尊)
(item no. 199)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Nyingma
Size 48.26x26.04cm (19x10.25in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment, Fine Gold Line on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# P1995.21.9
Painting School Palpung / Situ
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Semi-Peaceful

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Red Jambhala (Tibetan: dzam bha la mar po); a wealth deity from the 'Terma' (Treasure Teachings) of Trapa Ngonshe. (See the Red Jambhala of the Traba Ngonshe Tradition Main Page and Outline Page).

"...Red Jambhala with three faces, six hands and four legs. The body is red in colour, like ruby, and blazing with light. Beautiful and desirous in appearance, slightly fierce and smiling. The main face is red - laughing, the right white and left blue. The first pair of hands hold a precious gem and a jewel filled skullcup. The middle two a hook and lasso. The lowest two each [hold] a mongoose spewing various jewels. The two right legs are bent and the two left slightly straight; pressing on the male and female lords of wealth. Adorned with the eight great snakes and various jewels and a garland of flowers and fluttering ribbons." (Terdag Lingpa Gyurme Dorje (1646-1714) and Min-ling Lochen Dharmashri 1654-1718. Tibetan source text 'dod 'jo bum bzang pp. 353-354).

With three faces, six hands and four legs the right face is white, left dark blue, each with three eyes. The three right hands hold a hook, jewel and a jewel spitting mongoose. The left hold a skullcup filled with jewels, lasso and a mongoose. Leaning to the right side, his four feet press down on two wealth yakshas (daemons of classical Indian mythology). In a slightly peaceful and slightly wrathful demeanor, plump and happy, adorned with opulent jewel ornaments, silk scarves and a long snake necklace he stands above a sun disc and lotus seat, surrounded by a large pink nimbus. The eight auspicious emblems, multi-coloured wishing jewels and bolts of fabric are arranged neatly in front. Abundant foliage to each side frames the central figure.

At the top center sits the buddha of long-life, Amitayus, red, with the two hands in the gesture of meditation cradling a long-life vase. To the left is White Jambhala with one face and two hands holding a jeweled stick and mongoose, riding a dragon; accompanied by four dakinis of various colours. To the right is the goddess Kurukulla, red, with one face and four hands holding a hook, lasso, bow and arrow; standing in a dancing posture above a corpse seat.

At the bottom left is Yellow Jambhala holding a bijapuraka fruit and a mongoose sitting with the consort yellow Vasudhara. To the right is Black Jambhala, naked, holding a skullcup and mongoose, in a standing posture. This form of Red Jambhala belongs to the Nyingmapa 'Terma' - Revealed Treasure Tradition and was discovered as an 'Earth Treasure' by Trapa Ngonshe Wangchug Bar (1012-1090). Written on yellow parchment paper, it was extracted from above the door of the central shrine at Samye Chokor Ling. This famous 'terton' (treasure finder) is also responsible for uncovering the 'Four Medical Tantras.'

Iconographic Figures:
Center: Red Jambhala of the Traba Ngonshe Tradition
Top center: Amitayus Buddha
Top left: White Jambhala of the Jowo Atisha Tradition
Top right: Kurukulla
Bottom left: Yellow Jambhala with Consort
Bottom right: Black Jambhala of the Shakyashri Bhadra Tradition

Jeff Watt 7-98

Secondary Images
Related Items
Publication: Dojo Bumzang - Images

Thematic Sets
Subject: Deity Colours - Red (Powerful Activities)
Buddhist Deity: Jambhala, Red (Traba Ngonshe)
Subject: Revealed Treasure (Sarma Based)
Buddhist Deity: Jambhala List of Deities
Subject: Mongoose Symbolism
Buddhist Deity: Red Wrathful Appearance
Buddhist Deity: Jambhala Iconography
Buddhist Deity: Jambhala, Red - Main Page
Buddhist Deity: Jambhala (Traba Ngonshe) Masterworks
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 6
Tradition: Nyingma Deity Paintings
Buddhist Deity: Jambhala Main Page
Subject: Wealth Deities Main Page