This sculpture, complete with its flaming mandorla, single-lotus base and Kashmiri-style plinth, depicts Avalokiteshvara Padmapani, his right hand doing the fear-allaying gesture, his left hand holding the stem of a lotus.
He wears a three-leaf crown with large bows, unusual bulky earrings, a necklace with a small pendant, an antelope skin knotted across his chest. His right hand does the abhaya mudra, the other holds the stem of an eight-petal lotus flower. He has stippled nipples, a thin waist and a hole punch into the abdomen to mark the navel.
His short lower garment is decorated with a stippled pattern and held in place with a kind of sash or cloth belt that hangs at the front.
This is a strikingly ressemblant image, but for the shape of the flaming mandorla. It may have originally stood on a similar plinth. The single row of flat pointed lotus petals on the pedestal strongly recalls works from Himachal Pradesh, where Tibetan buddhism was established during the 8th century.
There is a large effigy of Amitabha in his crown and an antelope skin over his left shoulder (knotted across his chest). He wears a three-tooth pendant usually associated with Manjushri.
This other example also has a large effigy of Amitabha in his crown and the stem of an eight-petal lotus in his left hand. The mandorla is topped with a floral finial and flying banners.
Standing on a similar lotus base and plinth, Avalokiteshvara wears a very short dhoti which is the same length on both sides, a feature proper to Ladakh. It reveals tubular legs, and a celestial scarf with broad pointed ends, the former associated with Western Tibet or Ladakh, the latter with Himachal Pradesh.
There is an effigy of Amitabha in his crown and an antelope skin over his shoulder. The facial features and the celestial scarf recall works from Himachal Pradesh, as does the shape of the lotus petals on the pedestal.
Published in a previous post as “Western Tibet”, this figure has been published by an auction house as “11th century, Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh” ( a former Tibetan kingdom). The bodhisattva wears large floral earrings and a tripartite crown with an effigy of Amitabha at the front, decorated with bows and rosettes and held in place with a band with a rectangular motif in the middle, typical of Western Tibet and Ladakh.
It is worth noting the very thin silver-inlaid eyes and the way in which the artist has blended the contour of the (generous) nose with the eyebrows, the way the antelope skin is tied with the hooves crossed over, his wavy celestial scarf with broad flat ends, all atypical of Western Tibet. However, Himachal Pradesh figures normally have an ankle-length dhoti. The back panel or the pedestal would have been useful to identify the place of origin with certainty.