Himalayan Art Resources

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

ཛམ་བྷཱ་ལྷ། ནང་ལྷ། 财神(佛教本尊)
(item no. 970)
Origin Location Eastern Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Nyingma and Karma (Kagyu)
Size 63.50x48.26cm (25x19in)
Material Ground: Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# P2000.12.2
Painting School Karma Gardri
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Semi-Peaceful

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Red Jambhala (Tibetan: dzam bha la mar po. Sanskrit: Rakta Jambhala): a powerful wealth deity from the 'Terma' (Treasure Teachings) of Trapa Ngonshe.

"...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 an orange and rainbow nimbus.

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.'

Jeff Watt 11-2000

Secondary Images
Related Items
Publication: Dojo Bumzang - Images

Thematic Sets
Subject: Deity Colours - Red (Powerful Activities)
Buddhist Deity: Jambhala, Red (Traba Ngonshe)
Painting Style: Palpung - Peaceful & Semi-Peaceful Deities
Tradition: Kagyu Deity Paintings
Tradition: Nyingma Deity Paintings
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 9
Buddhist Deity: Jambhala (Traba Ngonshe) Masterworks
Buddhist Deity: Jambhala Main Page
Subject: Wealth Deities Main Page