Vaishravana Riding a Lion
DateEarly 20th century
MediumInk and pigment on paper
DimensionsSheet : 11 1/4 x 10 in. (28.58 x 25.4 cm)
Mat : 20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.64 cm)
Credit LinePurchased with funds donated by Ronald (1962) and Gerri Vander Molen
Vaishravana is a complex deity. He is King of the Yakshas, a class of powerful nature spirits that appear in both Buddhist and Hindu mythology. Through his association with the Indian deity Kubera, Vaishravana is also regarded as a god of wealth and good luck. In Mongolia, Tibet and China, Vaishravana is further revered as the Guardian of the North and chief of the Guardians of the Four Directions, and because he once swore an oath to protect Shakyamuni Buddha, he is also classified as a worldly dharma protector. As here, Vaishravana is often depicted in Mongolian art as a warrior figure, wearing armor and riding on a snow lion. He carries a spear and a victory banner, and holds a jewel-spitting rat or mongoose in his left hand.