Jambala (Bengal)

This is Jambala, the Buddhist deity of wealth. Jambala is also known as Kubera and Vaissravana.

Here Jambala is seated on a two-layered lotus Peetha (pedestal) and such Peethas are typical of the Bengal region. The ornamentation is simple. It includes a three-leafed tiara (Bengal / Pala style), earrings, two necklaces and a waist belt. The ornamentation may have been limited by the medium, hardstone, and the size, 8.5 cm height.

Jambala’s left hand is holding a mongoose (not discernable) which is spewing jewels (noticeable). The right hand is holding a citron. The right foot appears to be resting on an upturned vessel, a jewel casket. Jambala’s scriptural description (Dyana Slokha) is ‘ golden hue, big-bellied, with a citron in the right hand and she-mongoose on the left hand’.

This came mounted and have not examined the back. An example from the book Art of Bangladesh by A K M Shamsul Alam is included below for comparison. It is a 51cm tall figure and is dated to the 10th century.

Other examples I saw, in the book Iconography of Buddhist and Brahmanical Sculptures in the Dacca Museum by N K Bhattasali, are in the Dacca museum and are comparable in size to this example.

This Vigraha is from the Bengal region, possibly from today’s Bangladesh. It may be dated to the 10th century. It is about 8.5 cm in height.

PS: Been looking for a good bronze Jambala from India, to add to the two Nepal Jambalas published on this website. Bought this and then realized how good it is. If it is good enough to be in museums then it is good enough for me.


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