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                    Repoussé is a metalworking technique in which a malleable metal is ornamented or shaped by hammering from the reverse side. There are few techniques that offer such diversity of expression while still being relatively economical. Chasing is the opposite technique to repoussé, and the two are used in conjunction to create a finished piece. It is also known as embossing.

While repoussé is used to work on the reverse of the metal to form a raised design on the front, chasing is used to refine the design on the front of the work by sinking the metal. The term chasing is derived from the noun "chase", which refers to a groove, furrow, channel or indentation. The adjectival form is "chased work".

The techniques of repoussé and chasing utilise the plasticity of metal, forming shapes by degrees. There is no loss of metal in the process, as it is stretched locally and the surface remains continuous. The process is relatively slow, but a maximum of form is achieved, with one continuous surface of sheet metal of essentially the same thickness. Direct contact of the tools used is usually visible in the result, a condition not always apparent in other techniques, where all evidence of the working method is eliminated.

The word repoussé is French and means "pushed up". Repoussage is actually the correct noun to refer to the technique, with repoussé being an adjective referring to a piece to which the technique has been applied (e.g. "repoussé work", "repoussé piece"); however, in English it has become common to use repoussé as a noun.


                    A famous contemporary sculpture created with this technique is the Statue of Liberty in Upper New York Bay. The statue was formed by copper repoussé in sections using wooden structures to shape each piece during the hammering process.

Another example, and one from antiquity, is the late Eighteenth Dynasty mummy mask of Tutankhamun. The lapis lazuli and other stones were inlaid in chased areas after the height of the form was completed. The majority of the mask was formed using the technique of repoussé from what appears to be a single sheet of gold.

The techniques of repoussé have been used widely with gold and silver for fine detailed work and with copper, tin, and bronze for larger sculptures.

During the 3rd millennium BCE, a variety of semi-mass production methods were introduced to avoid repetitive free-hand work. With the simplest technique, sheet gold could be pressed into designs carved in intaglio in stone, bone, metal or even materials such as jet.



embossed copper repoussé banner plaque

Vaiśravana  - Dzambala  -  Vessavaa 

43.5 cm x 38.5 cm x 4.5  (17" x 15")

1.3 kg


Vaiśravana (Sanskrit वैश्रवण)

a.k.a. Dzambala  ( Tibetan རྣམ་ཐོས་སྲ )

or Vessavana (Pāli वेस्सवण, Sinhala වෛශ්රවණ)


                    Originating in the Vedas as the deity Kubera, (or King of the North and the God of Wealth), the Buddhist Vessavana or the more commonly known Vaiśravana later became known as Dzambala in Tibet and Bishamonten in Japan. Easily recognized by the mongoose on his lap that vomits wish-fulfilling gems. Finished in 24kt fine goldleaf on 18kt green and 12kt white gold.

The surrounds are 23kt red and yellow gold: clockwise from top middle: Wish-fulfilling Gem, Apsara, Dragon, Elephant, Snow-Lion, Apsara, Kirtimukha, Apsara, Tiger, Windhorse, Garuda, Apsara.

The rods and rod finials are finished in copper, aluminium and a copper-zinc alloy metal-leaf.

Download pdf Vaisravana fact sheet


Vaiśravaṇa (Sanskrit वैश्रवण) or Vessavaṇa (Pāli वेस्सवण,Sinhala වෛශ්රවණ) also known as Jambhala, is the name of the chief of the Four Heavenly Kings and an important figure in Buddhist mythology.

The name Vaiśravaṇa is derived from the Sankrit viśravaṇa "Great Fame".

Vaiśravaṇa is also known as Kubera (Sanskrit) or Kuvera (Pāli), and as Jambhala (Sanskrit). 

Other names include:

§                     多聞天 (simplified characters: 闻天): Chinese Duō Wén Tiān, Korean Damun Cheonwang (다문천왕), Japanese Tamonten. The characters mean "Much hearing god" or "Deity who hears much".

§                     毘沙門天: Chinese Píshāmén Tiān, Japanese Bishamonten. This is a representation of the sound of the Sanskrit name in Chinese (Vaiśravaṇ → Pishamen) plus the character for "heaven" or "god".

§                     Tibetan: རྣམ་ཐོས་སྲས (rnam.thos.sras [Namthöse])

§                     Thai: ท้าวกุเวร or ท้าวเวสสุวรรณ (Thao Kuwen or Thao Vessuwan)


                    The character of Vaiśravaṇa is founded upon the Hindu deity Kubera, but although the Buddhist and Hindu deities share some characteristics and epithets, each of them has different functions and associated myths. Although brought into East Asia as a Buddhist deity, Vaiśravaṇa has become a character in folk religion and has acquired an identity that is partially independent of the Buddhist tradition (cf. the similar treatment of Kuan Yin and Yama).

Vaiśravaṇa is the guardian of the northern direction, and his home is in the northern quadrant of the topmost tier of the lower half of Mount Sumeru. He is the leader of all the yakṣas who dwell on the Sumeru's slopes.

He is often portrayed with a yellow face. He is also sometimes displayed with a mongoose, often shown ejecting jewels from its mouth. The mongoose is the enemy of the snake, a symbol of greed or hatred; the ejection of jewels represents generosity.




Vaiśravaṇa in Theravāda tradition

                    In the Pāli scriptures of the Theravāda Buddhist tradition, Vaiśravaṇa is called Vessavaṇa. Vessavaṇa is one of the Cātummahārājāno, or four Great Kings, each of whom rules over a specific direction. Vessavaṇa's realm is the northern quadrant of the world, including the land of Uttarakuru. According to some suttas, he takes his name from a region there called Visāṇa; he also has a city there called Ālakamandā which is a byword for wealth. Vessavaṇa governs the yakkhas – beings with a nature between 'fairy' and 'ogre'.

                    Vessavaṇa's wife is named Bhuñjatī, and he has five daughters, Latā, Sajjā, Pavarā, Acchimatī, and Sutā. He has a nephew called Puṇṇaka, a yakkha, husband of the nāga woman Irandatī. He has a chariot called Nārīvāhana. His weapon was the gadāvudha (Sanskrit: gadāyudha), but he only used it before he became a follower of the Buddha.

                    Vessavaṇa has the name "Kuvera" from a name he had from a past life as a rich brahmin mill-owner, who gave all the produce of one of his seven mills to charity, and provided alms to the needy for 20,000 years. He was reborn in the Cātummahārājikā heaven as a reward for these good kammas.

                    As with all the Buddhist deities, Vessavaṇa is properly the name of an office (filled for life) rather than a permanent individual. Each Vessavaṇa is mortal, and when he dies, he will be replaced by a new Vessavaṇa. Like other beings of the Cātummahārājika world, his lifespan is 90,000 years (other sources say nine million years). Vessavaṇa has the authority to grant the yakkhas particular areas (e.g., a lake) to protect, and these are usually assigned at the beginning of aVessavaṇa's reign.

                    When the Buddha was born, Vessavaṇa became his follower, and eventually attained the stage of sotāpanna (Sanskrit: srotaāpanna, one who has only seven more lives before enlightenment). He often brought the Buddha and his followers messages from the gods and other humans, and protected them. He presented to the Buddha the Āṭānāṭā verses, which Buddhists meditating in the forest could use to ward off the attacks of wild yakkhas or other supernatural beings who do not have faith in the Buddha. These verses are an early form of paritta chanting.

Bimbisāra, King of Magadha, after his death was reborn as a yakkha called Janavasabha in the retinue of Vessavaṇa.

In the early years of Buddhism, Vessavaṇa was worshipped at trees dedicated to him as shrines. Some people appealed to him to grant them children.


Vaiśravaṇa in Japan

                    In Japan, Bishamonten (毘沙門天), or just Bishamon (毘沙門) is thought of as an armor-clad god of warfare or warriors and a punisher of evildoers – a view that is at odds with the more pacific Buddhist king described above. Bishamon is portrayed holding a spear in one hand and a small pagoda in the other hand, the latter symbolizing the divine treasure house, whose contents he both guards and gives away. In Japanese folklore, he is one of the Japanese Seven Gods of Fortune.

Bishamon is also called Tamonten (多聞天), meaning "listening to many teachings" because he is the guardian of the places where Buddha preaches. He lives half way down the side of Mount Sumeru.


Vaiśravaṇa in Tibet

                    In Tibet, Vaiśravaṇa is considered a worldly dharmapāla or protector of the Dharma, a member of the retinue of Ratnasambhava. He is also known as the King of the North. As guardian of the north, he is often depicted on temple murals outside the main door. He is also thought of as a god of wealth. As such, Vaiśravaṇa is sometimes portrayed carrying a citron, the fruit of the jambhara tree, a pun on another name of his, Jambhala (in Tibetan pronunciation Dzambala or Zambala). The fruit helps distinguish him iconically from depictions of Kuvera. He is sometimes represented as corpulent and covered with jewels. When shown seated, his right foot is generally pendant and supported by a lotus-flower on which is a conch shell. His mount is a snow lion.

Nam Te Se. (རྣམ་ཐོས་སྲས་ or རྣམ་སྲས་) is not Dzambala. Nam Te is the king, and Dzambala is one of his ranking ministers. Nam Te Se has eight ranks, and Dzambala is one of these ranks.

Tibetan Buddhists consider Jambhala's sentiment regarding wealth to be providing freedom by way of bestowing prosperity, so that one may focus on the path or spirituality rather than on the materiality and temporality of that wealth.



copper repoussé plaque


24kt pure goldleaf, 23kt red gold, 22kt black gold, 18kt green gold, 12kt white gold



11 inches x 13.5 inches

                    Avalokiteshvara or Chenrezig (tib.) is the patron deity of Tibet. The Tibetan people even claim descent from Avalokiteshvara, who in the form of a monkey, is said to have sired the original inhabitants of the Roof of the World. Shakyamuni Buddha prophesied that Avalokiteshvara would subdue its barbarous inhabitants and lead them along the path to enlightenment. Taking miraculous birth from a shaft of light from the heart of Amitabha Buddha which then transformed into a radiant lotus, and it is from within this lotus that the four armed incarnation of Avalokiteshvara was discovered.

The four-armed holds a wish-fulfilling gem in his palms, as well as a rosary and lotus. The thousand-armed also holds a water-pot, a bow for firing arrows, the wheel of dharma, and the mudra of bestowing realizations.

Avalokiteshvara has been identified with, among others, King Songtsen Gampo, Padmasambhava, Dromtonpa (Atisha's disciple), the Gyalwa Karmapa, and the Dalai Lamas.

On completing a meditation retreat, the Boddhisattva realized that he had only helped a very small number of beings, and thus in his disappointment his head split into ten pieces and his body into a thousand. Amitabha restored the broken body into a thousand hands, each with its own wisdom eye, and the shattered pieces of his head into 10 faces, nine of them peaceful and one wrathful, so that he could look compassionately in all directions simultaneously. Amitabha was so pleased with his heart-son Avalokiteshvara that he crowned the ten faces with a replica of himself.

The embodiment of infinite compassion, white in color, Avalokiteshvara seeks to dispel the suffering of all beings. With his compassionate gaze, Avalokiteshvara looks upon beings in all realms of existence with the wish that they be free of suffering. His mantra is: OM MANI PADME HUM.

                    Avalokiteśvara (Sanskrit: अवलोकितेश्वर , Bengali: অবলোকিতেশ্বর, lit. "Lord who looks down", Chinese: 觀世音) is a bodhisattva who embodies the compassion of all Buddhas. He is one of the more widely revered bodhisattvas in mainstream Mahayana Buddhism. In China and its sphere of cultural influence, Avalokiteśvara is often depicted in a female form known as Guan Yin. (However, in Taoist mythology, Guan Yin has other origination stories which are unrelated to Avalokiteśvara.)

Avalokitesvara is also referred to as Padmapāni ("Holder of the Lotus") also Thirumai (Tirupati) or Lokeśvara ("Lord of the World"). In Tibetan, Avalokiteśvara is known as Chenrezig, and is said to be incarnated in the Dalai Lama, the Karmapa and other high Lamas. In Mongolia, he is called Megjid Janraisig, Xongsim Bodisadv-a, or Nidüber Üjegči



Copper Repoussé Plaque



24kt Fine Goldleaf, Rose Gold, and White Gold


Dragons, Wish-Fulfilling Gems and Lotuses



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