Jamsaran figurine






19th century


Casting, chasing, gilding, painting




Height 172 mm

COMMENT. The cast gilt bronze figurine portrays Jamsaran, the Mongol-Tibetan god of war, who is also one of the eight dharmapalas, the wrathful deities that protect Buddhist teachings and each individual Buddhist. Another Tibetan name is Beg-tse ("clothed in armor"), and the Mongolian name is Ulaan Sahius ("red keeper"). The iconography of Jamsaran may have been influenced by the image of Guan Di, Chinese god of war. Jamsaran is portrayed as a ferocious warrior in armor and red clothes, with a red face distorted by fury, a grinning mouth, three eyes glowing with hate, flaming eyebrows and mustaches, dark yellow-red hair. He holds a sword with a scorpion-shaped hilt in his raised right hand, and a heart and lungs of the enemy of faith in his left. The decoration is a necklace of severed human heads or a crown with images of skulls. The deity tramples with his feet a man and a green horse that are lying on the ground. Jamsaran has been known since the mid-16th century, when he was declared the main protector of the Dalai Lama and Tashilhunpo Monastery. Jamsaran is widely revered in the Telugpa and Nyingma traditions. Tibetans believe that prayers to him destroy enemies and obstacles, protect from fear and danger.