Nepal, a bodhisattva from the Thakuri period

9tj-10th century, Nepal, Thakuri period, bodhisattva, gilt copper alloy, at the Norton Simon Museum (USA).

9th-10th century, Nepal, Thakuri period, bodhisattva, gilt copper alloy, at the Norton Simon Museum (USA).

This figure has none of the attributes that are normally associated with the main bodhisattvas but he is holding what may be a jewel in his right hand, in which case this would be a representation of Ratnapani (‘holder of the jewel’). Very similar in style to a Maitreya published previously, the bodhisattva has a flaming halo attached at shoulder level and  is wearing a tall three-leaf crown with sharply pointed ends. He is adorned with plain jewellery, a sacred thread, a short dhoti held in place with a belt, a sash across his hips knotted on one side. The ends of the dhoti drop in a cascade of pleats between his legs. The double-lotus base seems to have some buds springing up, with what could be a jewel at the centre.

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