Tibet, 11-head Avalokiteshvara – 2 different styles

Late 15th-early 16th century, Tibet, 11-head Avalokiteshvara, gilt bronze, at the Norton Simon Museum (USA)

Late 15th-early 16th century, Tibet, 11-head Avalokiteshvara, gilt bronze with copper and silver inlay, at the Norton Simon Museum (USA).

The bodhisattva is wearing a long, Indian-style patterned dhoti secured with a belt. The crowns on his nine heads and on Mahakala’s are gilt. He holds a water pot, a wheel of dharma, a bow, a rosary.

15th-16th century, Tibet, gilt copper alloy inlaid with stones, pigment, private collection.

15th-16th century, Tibet, gilt copper alloy inlaid with stones, pigment, private collection.

Here Avalokiteshvara is wearing a Nepalese-style lower garment with a stone-inlaid belt. His jewellery and crowns are also richly inlaid with turquoise. Amitabha’s hair, at the top, has been painted with lapis lazuli powder and there is some red pigment on Mahakala’s lips and hair (below).

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