Tibetan Buddhist Vaishravana (Kubera)
In Tibetan Buddhism, Vaishravana is revered as the leader among the Four Heavenly Kings. Outside of Tibet, he is also an important figure in Japanese Buddhism and traces his origins from India's Lokopalas, especially Kubera. The Four Heavenly Kings are protectors who watch over the four cardinal directions of the world. Vaishravana’s name means “he who hears all things” and is known as the guardian on the North. This painting of Vaishravana is a great depiction of him being Heavenly King thanks to his image being encircled with stars and dark space which resemble the sky at night. His foot rests on a conch shell, a significant symbol in Buddhism.
Traditional art usually paints him as having a yellow face. Zoom in on his right hand to see him carrying a citron fruit, one of the main symbols that separate him from his Indian counterpart Kubera, who usually holds a parasol. The citron comes from the Jambhara tree, a tree whose names sound close with his other identity, Jambhala. On his left hand is a mongoose. This mongoose is a sign of Vaishravana’s success over the Nagas, or the snakes who guard wealth. The mongoose appears to the ejecting a jewel from its mouth, a powerful symbol of rejecting materialism and a showcase of generosity as a good way to about one’s spiritual journey. He is then known as a god of wealth that gives and blesses more because the act itself is freeing.
Tibetan Thangka PaintingSize of Painted Surface 10.5 inch X 13inch
Size with Brocade 21 inch X 33.5 inch