Western Tibet, Avalokiteshvara – standing (4)

10th century, Western Tibet or Ladakh, Avalokiteshvara, brass, private collection, photo by Christie's

10th century, Western Tibet or Ladakh, Avalokiteshvara, brass, private collection, photo by Christie’s

In previous posts we saw some 10th-11th century Kashmiri-style sculptures made in Western Tibet and easily identifiable thanks to the crown, garland, large lotus etc. The image above belongs to a different group of early sculptures made in the West-Tibetan area. Usually made of brass, they have a doll-like appearance, with stiff tubular legs and arms, oversized hands and unrealistic body proportions, a low tiara and an exaggeratedly tall chignon topped with a finial. This Avalokiteshvara holds a large six-petal lotus with a copper stem in his left hand, a bottle/pot of water is hanging from the other. He is adorned with large hoops, a  necklace with three leaves, simple armbands and bracelets, and wears knee-length dhoti (with rolled up hems) decorated with a stippled floral motif and held in place with a belt and a sash that sticks out rigidly on each side. As is often the case, the base on which he stood is missing.

Undated (11th century?), Western Tibet, Avalokiteshvara, brass, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Undated, Western Tibet, Avalokiteshvara, brass, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

10 th c. cir.?, Western Tibet, Avalokiteshvara, brass, dhoti

This one wears a festooned belt, a short necklace and a longer one with three small pendants, armbands, plain bangles. There is a lotus attached to his left arm and foliage attached to his right arm.

11th century, Western Tibet, same as before.

11th century, Western Tibet, Avalokiteshvara, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Classic Art.

Although his lotus is broken, this figure standing on a single-lotus base is likely to be Avalokiteshvara Padmapani because of the similarity with other such sculptures. However, he may have held a blue lotus topped with a manuscript, in which case we would be looking at Manjushri.

11th-12th century, same as before, private collection.

11th-12th century, same as before, copper alloy, private collection, photo by abuddhistlibrary.com.

We saw in a previous post a sculpture of Avalokiteshvara Simhanada on a lotus base over a pedestal with stupas at the front (supported by two yakshas) dated 11th-12th century. This one still has the upper part of the stupas with the sun and moon symbol.

 

11th century circa, Western Tibet, Avalokiteshvara, brass, photo by Astamangala Gallery.

Circa 11th century, Western Tibet, Avalokiteshvara, brass, photo by Astamangala Gallery.

Again, Avalokiteshvara holds a pot of water in his right hand and the stem of a lotus in the other. There is a thick sacred thread zig-zagging across his chest and thighs. His dhoti, with rolled up hems, is longer on one side and held in place with a sash that sticks out stiffly. His low crown is decorated with side bows and swirling ribbons.

11th-12th century, Western Tibet, Avalokiteshvara, brass, at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford (UK).

11th-12th century, Western Tibet, Avalokiteshvara, brass, at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford (UK).

This Avalokiteshvara Padmapani has an antelope skin over his shoulders and knotted at the front. He also wears a sacred thread, a short dhoti held in place with a belt, plain jewellery, a low tiara with upward flying ribbons. There is a pot of water in his right hand. He holds the stem of a very large 8-petal lotus flower in his left hand.

 

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