Kashmir, two 9th c. Padmapani statues

9th century, Kashmir, standing bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara Padmapani, brass, private collection

9th century, Kashmir, standing bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara Padmapani, brass with silver inlaid eyes, private collection

9th century, Kashmir, Padmapani, brass with silver inlaid eyes, private collection

9th century, Kashmir, Padmapani, brass with silver inlaid eyes, private collection

These two very similar brass statues are but two examples of the excellent craftsmanship of Kashmiri artists in the 9th century. The flaming halo made of two pieces, one behind the body and one behind the head, and the pedestal made of two trapezoidal shapes topped with a row of lotus petals and a flat cushion, are both common features of that period. The realistic features and delicate body proportions (which can hardly be surpassed) will be a constant element in most Kashmiri pieces up to the 11th- 12th century, after which buddhist art starts disappearing (due to the arrival of the islamic culture).

Whereas the tall headdress on the first statue is of Indian influence, the second statue wears a typical Kashmiri crown made of moon crescents and lotus rosettes. The dhoti is above knee level on one side and longer on the other, a fashion that will reach West Tibetan sculptures a few centuries later.

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