Swat Valley, pensive Avalokiteshvara

7th-8th century, Swat Valley, Avalokiteshvara, brass, private collection.

7th-8th century, Swat Valley (or Swat Valley style), Avalokiteshvara, brass with silver and copper inlay, private collection.

Avalokiteshvara Padmapani (lotus bearer) holds the long stem of a large lotus flower in his left hand. His head is tilted towards his right hand to suggest a pensive mood. His eyes are inlaid with silver and his lips with copper. His hair is tied in a fan shape on top of his head in the manner of the Swat Valley/Pakistan area. There is an effigy of Amitabha in the central panel of his crown. Long strands of hair fall over his shoulders. He is adorned with lotus-flower earrings and armbands, a plain necklace, plain bracelets and a sacred cord. A thin celestial scarf rests on the inner part of his right arm, it passes over his left shoulder, down to the elbow and drops down his side. The bodhisattva is seated on a couple of thick cushions on a single-lotus base, his right leg folded, the left leg pendant, both big toes curled up. His navel is a hole punched in his plump abdomen. The end of his long lower garment is gathered into thick pleats under his right ankle.

8th century, Swat Valley, Avalokiteshvara, dark bronze, photo by Christie's.

8th century, Swat Valley, Avalokiteshvara, bronze, photo by Christie’s.

This sculpture, made of a dark alloy, includes a kneeling character (possibly the donor) at one corner of the pedestal.

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