Yaksha and Yakshi are nature spirits. They are usually benevolent mythical beings; and attendees of Kubera, the Lord of Yakshas and Yakshis.They have been depicted in sculpture,paintings and illustrations in India and few countries of Asia. They find place in Hindu, Buddhist and Jain mythology.
In Hinduism Yakshas have a dual personality.They could be benevolent and friendly or could be offensive like a rakshasa or demon. Yakshas are believed to be protectors of forests and villages. Yakshas are depicted as strong warriors or as stout,short figures with a big belly. In contrast Yakshis are projected as very beautiful with gentle faces, full hips, rounded breasts and slender waists.The thirty six yakshis who grant desires mentioned in the Uddamareshwara tantra are Vichitra, Hamsi,Shankhini,Kapalini ,Mahendri,Vishala among others.
In Buddhist lore, Yakshas are the attendants of Vaisravana. They are the twelve generals who guard Bhaisajyaguru, the Medicine Buddha. They are a main part of the folklore of Thailand and are guardian deities in their temples-gates, the dwarapalas. The yakshis became salabhanjikas holding on to a ashoka tree-branch or a flowering tree depicted majorly at the gates of many Buddhist monuments and Hindu temples. They were associated with fertility and prosperity.
In Jainsim the Yakshas and Yakshis are guardian duties around the jinas. Over time they have come to be woshipped too. There are twenty four yakshas in Jainism. Gomukha,Trimukha,Mahayaksha,Yakshanayaka,Tamburu,Kusuma,Dharanendra,Matanga,Vijaya, Ajita,Gomedh among others. The twenty four yakshis include Chakreswari,Ambika,Manasi, Jaya among others.
Yaksha Vyala, sculpture,1st century B.C,Government Museum, Mathura.
Yakshi,plaque,terracotta, 3-2nd century B.C, Bengal.
By Hiart (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
Yaksha depiction carrying human being,2nd century B.C,Government Museum, Mathura.
Yakshi,sandstone,2nd century,Mathura, Indian Museum, Kolkata.
Biswarup Ganguly [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0), GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Yaksha Gomedh with Ambika,sculpture,11th century,Maharaja Chhatrasal Museum, Dhubela, Madhya Pradesh.
By Sagar Das, Rosehub – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45605239
Yaksha Gomukha with his consort,sandstone,Gurjara Pratiharas, 8th century, North India.
By Davide Mauro (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Yaksha-yakshi,sculpture,11th century, Madhya Pradesh.
I, Sailko [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Yaksha,,Angkor Wat,12th century,Cambodia.
Yaksha Anila, painting on cloth, 15th century,Tibet.
See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Kalpasutra manuscript,15th century,pigment on paper, second image depicts birth of Mahavira watched over by goat headed Yaksha,Naigamesha.
Yaksha Thotsakan,Thai Ramakien depiction,mural,18th century,Wat Phra Kaew,Bangkok,Thailand.
By Heinrich Damm (User:Hdamm, Hdamm at de.wikipedia.org) (Own work (Own photo)) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
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