The Hand-Crafting of Wealth Deity, Dzambhala Statue

The most traditional and highly regarded kind of art in Nepal is metal sculpting. It is also one of the oldest forms of art. The art of metal sculpting in Nepal dates to the 7th century AD. The early mastery of metal is a significant contributor to the prosperity of the Kathmandu Valley.

Early on, the Tamrakar, Shakya, and Swarnakars of Nepal created an exquisite metal sculpture using the traditional lost wax metal sculpting technique. Additionally, they possessed the means to generate heat powerful enough to melt gold, which brought them an enormous reputation and wealth in Tibet and the Himalayan area.

Metal sculpture involves a labor-intensive process and high levels of expertise. Massive metal sculptures may require several people to work on them for up to six months to complete. The hand-crafting of a figurine requires extreme dedication. To craft a perfect piece of artwork, one needs to have decades of experience.

The sculptor of deities can be crafted using metals such as copper, brass, silver, gold, Pancha dhatu (a combination of five metals), and astha dhatu (an amalgamation of eight metals).

The artist has to depict the statue based on traditional iconography. The design aspects have to be accurate to that mentioned in the scriptures. But there is a huge room for creativity. They can showcase their artistry in the statue making through intricate design patterns on the robe, body ornaments of the deity, with the placement of the gemstones, and unique and appealing design of the crown and the throne.

Here is one of the prime examples of the creativity of an artist in creating a statue.wealth-deity-dzambhala

Click here to view our Hand-Carved Dzambhala Statue

Yellow Dzambhala & His Significance

Dzambhala in Sanskrit: Jambhala; Tibetan: Dzambala Tsepo, Zambala, chinese: Yellow Wealth God is a member of the Jewel family and the Wealth deity in Buddhist mythology as well as the protector of the north. Kuber is the name given to Dzambala in Hindu mythology. He is also said to be an incarnation of Avalokiteshvara- the Buddha of Compassion as the Buddha of Wealth. There are five different wealth Jambalas. Every Jambala has a unique chant and ceremony to thwart poverty and provide financial stability.

The most well-known and potent of the Wealth Gods is thought to be the Yellow Jambhala. He is the Buddha Ratnasambhava's emanation. Within the six worlds, he has the power to end poverty and promote virtues, longevity, and wisdom.

He is also believed to be an emanation of Vaisravana, one of the "Four Great Heavenly Kings Protecting the World." In Buddhism, he is known as the protector of light. He is a generous deity who bestows riches and protection. In the northern area under the Four Heavens, in the north of the crystal palace on Mount Sumeru's fourth level, resides Lord Vaisravana. Either yaksas or bhaisajya-yaksas serve as his servants. 

According to the Lotus Sutra, this heavenly king is exceedingly knowledgeable since he has had the opportunity to learn a great deal thanks to his ongoing guardianship of the Buddhas.

Dzam denotes a group or a deity, Bhah means 'Gold or Wealth,' and la denotes 'to honor.' "Precious Golden Deity Who Gathers or Distributes Spirituality or Dharma with Material Stability or Achievement to Our Circumstances" is what Dzambhala implies.

"Because in this world, there are all kinds of positive, negative, or evil emotions, and sometimes it will harm yourself and other sentient beings, the Yellow God of Wealth must have a form. Ferocious and powerful to shield us from negative emotions and bad karma. In particular, Dzambhala helps us to reduce unhappiness and obstacles and makes us rich and happy."

-Gyalten Sogdzin Rinpoche

Iconography of Jambhala

The Yellow Dzambhala has golden yellow skin, a huge belly, a tiny body frame, and powerful arms. His left hand holds a mongoose spewing out gems, while his right hand holds a priceless "mani" citron fruit.wealth-deity-dzambhala-iconography-thangka

Source: Enlightenment Thangka

Above his hairline, he is adorned with a five-leaf crown and a headband made of gems that grant wishes. His bottom body is covered in a celestial costume, and his upper body is left bare. He is decked with blue lotus blossoms and decorations made of different gems, including pearls and jade, and his upper body is wrapped in celestial ribbons. Two straps—one over the back of his head and the other around his topknot—hold his crown in place.

He is seated in a serene and tranquil way on a moon disc lotus seat, wearing "Upala" prayer beads around his neck. His right foot is treading on a valuable conch shell while his left is folded.

"As I have healed you and I poured this holy nectar onto you, in the future, anyone of my students or student students who call upon your power and pours water onto your head – bestow on their wealth, give them the two types of wealth, spiritual wealth and material wealth, more importantly, spiritual wealth." – Gautama Buddha.

The statue of Dzambhala has been exquisitely hand-carved here in Termatree Studio. For the molding process, copper was used. The figure has accurate traditional iconography. The crafting of this figurine involved master artists with decades of experience. The art of hand-crafting such pieces has been passed down from generation to generation. After the completion of the molding of the statue, intricate design patterns are hand-carved. The craftsmanship of the hand-carving can be seen on the one-of-a-kind crown set, body ornament, and robe.

To carve the design patterns, the Artist places the statue or part of it on a pitch of surki, khoto, and saaldhup. It is similar to that of the German red pitch for chasing. Then the artist starts crafting the design by chasing the metal sheet with different chisels. The chiseling demands an extreme level of talent. One simple mistake will ruin the whole statue. So only the talented and master artist do the chiseling on the figure. This brings the statue to life. It adds more essence to the craft and makes the figurine visually appealing. There are different types of chisel and hammers used for chiseling the statue.

After the chiseling process, the deity is gilded with pure 24K gold. This gives the statue a lustrous shine. Gold gilding is a complex and tedious task that demands the utmost skill and accuracy. The sculptures are covered with gold and mercury (the whole body or desired areas). The mercury is then heated over the smokeless fire, enough heat to evaporate the mercury only. As a result, just the top layer of the gold is left out on the figurine. Then it is further polished to bring out the excellent shine of the gold. Here the deity is seated on a rare throne set. It is also made of copper and gilded with genuine 24K gold.

To highlight the facial expression of the deity, we have used acrylic paintings. This includes eyes, nose, mouth, mustache, beard, hair, and sometimes the whole body (depending upon the deity).dzambhala gold plated statue

The usage of precious stones is one of the most defining characteristics of Tibetan statuary. They are covered in crystals, coral, opal, turquoise, and other semi-precious stones. These features give the sculptures an additional depth and a strange appearance and feel.

The throne, nimbus, parasol, crown, robe, and other body ornaments are artistically adorned with crystals, coral, opal, turquoise, and other semi-precious stones. This makes the statue even more striking.

Here the statue of Dzambhala is made meticulously with total devotion. Practitioners can use this artwork for various purposes, such as in meditational or yoga activities, in different Buddhist rituals, and for home décor things. It will be a perfect gift from Nepal to a devotee that will aid you in your practices and regular activities such as meditation and yoga. 

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