Western Tibet, Avalokiteshvara – standing (2)

10th century, Western Tibet, Guge Kingdom, Avalokiteshvara, copper alloy with copper and silver inlay, private collection.

10th century, Western Tibet, Guge Kingdom, Avalokiteshvara, copper alloy with copper and silver inlay, collection of Asia Society.

His richly incised dhoti,  the long garland of flowers, his floral accessories, the overall Kashmiri-style of the sculpture (cruciform navel and lobed abdomen, muscly chest and realistic body shape and proportions) and the high level of craftsmanship are all representative of works from the ancient Guge Kingdom in Western Tibet. Avalokiteshvara Padmapani, adorned with jewellery and a sacred thread, holds one hand down in the gesture of generosity (varada mudra) while the other rests agains his hip and holds the stem of a (broken) lotus. He stands with one foot straight and the other slightly turned towards the left.

10th c., Western Tibet, Padmapani, Guge, lotus garland, c.a.+ c. + s. inlay, 69,22 cm, close up

He has an unusually triangular face, with silver-inlaid eyes and urna, copper-inlaid features such as the lips, navel, buckle. A stippled motif marks the areolas around his nipples. He wears a tall Kashmiri-style crown with crescent moons, adorned with rosettes and ribbons, revealing rows of neatly arranged hair with a parting in the middle. His V-shaped eyebrows join above the nose and extend to the temples.

10th c., Western Tibet, Padmapani, Guge, lotus garland, c.a.+ c. + s. inlay, 69,22 cm, floral dhoti+garland

His lower garment is much shorter on one side and has sharply pointed ends. One of his marked knee caps shows through the thick brocade. He wears anklets with a floral design that matches the garland.

10th-11th century, Western Tibet, Guge Kingdom, brass with copper and silver inlay, private collection.

10th-11th century, Western Tibet, Guge Kingdom, brass with copper and silver inlay, private collection.

The body proportions are less realistic on this one, the knee caps smaller, the legs more tubular, the waist abnormally thin. The large lotus flower to his left has more petals than usual. His lower garment is inlaid with silver and bands of copper.

10th century, Western Tibet, copper alloy with silver inlay, private collection, photo by Rossi & Rossi.

10th century, Western Tibet, copper alloy with silver inlay, private collection, photo by Rossi & Rossi.

This other masterpiece depicts the bodhisattva with an antelope skin knotted across his chest, a transparent dhoti and a belt with a floral buckle that matches his long garland of flowers, his left hand holding a Gandharan-style water pot and the stem of a large lotus flower with eight petals.

10th c., Western Tibet, Avalokiteshvara, bronze+sil. inlay, Kashmir school, 71,8 cm, close up

The right hand does the vitarka mudra and holds a rosary. He has a broad face with silver-inlaid eyes,  no urna, a pointed nose and pursed lips, V-shaped eyebrows that extend to the temples, neatly combed hair with a parting in the middle, an effigy of Amitabha in his headdress, some long strands of plaited hair falling over his shoulders.

11th century, Western Tibet, Avalokiteshvara, copper alloy with silver and copper inlay, private collection, photo by Sotheby's.

11th century, Western Tibet, Avalokiteshvara, copper alloy with silver and copper inlay, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

On this very similar statue, the bodhisattva stands with both feet straight. He wears a three-leaf crown without crescent moons and his garland looks like a chain rather than a string of flowers. The lotus he holds has eight-petals like the previous one.

 

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