Find thousands of books, manuscripts, visual materials and unpublished archives from our collections, many of them with free online access.

Attributes of Kubera in a "rgyan tshogs" banner. Distemper painting by a Tibetan painter.

Part of:
Fifteen banners from a Tibetan Protector chapel.
  • Pictures

Selected images from this work

About this work


The attributes of Kubera ('Lord of horses'), a wealth-protecting deity and an aspect of Vaiśravaṇa, the guardian king of the northerly direction.

This is a comparatively quiet and peaceful painting indicating that Kubera is not a wrathful deity but associated with wealth and its pleasures. It is embellished with garlands of jewels instead of the garlands of entrails shown in the more sombre paintings in this series. In the centre is an offering cake in the form of a pagoda with four steps leading up to it. On the highest step is a mongoose or ichneumon (usually a hand-held attribute of Kubera) spitting jewels into a vessel filled with jewels. On the third step can be seen a double drum, a pair of king's earrings, a pair of queen's earrings and a bundle of crossed sticks which has been interpreted as the wood used for cremations, a kind of memento mori. At the bottom there are eight trees and six bulls. In the bottom centre, jewels are offered

Higher up there is on the left a large white snow-lion with a turquoise mane; left and right of the pagoda, two haloed figures sitting on a cloud, one in the enchanter's posture, the other in that of royal ease. There are the Eight Auspicious Things: unending knot, fishes, wheel, conch shell, umbrella, victory banners, white lotus, and life vase. There are emblems for the pleasures of the five senses, and a round emblem of the universe with four stepped pyramids



Physical description

1 painting : distemper on linen ; distemper 63 x 47 cm.

References note

Marianne Winder, Catalogue of Tibetan manuscripts and xylographs, and catalogue of thankas, banners and other paintings and drawings in the Library of the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, London 1989, pp. 89-90, thankas banners and paintings no. 27
Gyurme Dorje, 'A rare series of Tibetan banners', in N. Allan (ed.), Pearls of the orient: Asian treasures of the Wellcome Library, London 2003, pp. 161-177 (pp. 169-170 and fig. 9)


Wellcome Library no. 47097i

Where to find it

  • LocationStatusAccess
    Closed stores

Permanent link