Tibet, Avalokiteshvara – standing (5)

11th century, Tibet, Avalokiteshvara, copper alloy with silver and copper inlay, private collection.

11th century, Tibet, Avalokiteshvara, copper alloy with silver and copper inlay, private collection.

Standing on a small double-lotus base, Avalokiteshvara holds the stem of a (broken lotus) and does the vitarka mudra. He has a tall Pala-style chignon capped with a lotus flower, a small tiara, a long dhoti held in place with a festooned belt, and Tibetan facial features. Another lotus is attached to his right elbow.

12th century, Tibet, Avalokiteshvara, bronze, private collection, photo by Christie's.

12th century, Tibet , Avalokiteshvara, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

This sculpture depicts him on a single-lotus base over an unusual plinth and with a flaming mandorla  topped with ribbons and a finial. He holds a pot of water and the stem of lotuses in his left hand, a miniature rosary in the other. His dhoti, longer on one side and with the hem rolled up, is held in place with a belt; a thick sacred thread passes through it, forming some loops that recall Indian festooned belts. The ends of his celestial scarf seem to be suspended horizontally in the air.

Undated, Tibet, Avalokiteshvara, Museum der Kulturen,

Undated, Tibet, Avalokiteshvara, Museum der Kulturen in Basel, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Still depicted in the Pala style, the bodhisattva holds his right hand in the gesture of supreme generosity (varada mudra). He wears a sash across his chest that matches his ankle-length dhoti.

12th-13th c?, Western? Tibet, Avalokiteshvara Padmapani, Museum der Kulturen, Amitabha in crown

His chignon is topped with a finial, there is an effigy of Amitabha at the front. The navel is a hole punched into the abdomen, in the Indian fashion.

12th-13th century, Tibet, Avalokiteshvara, private collection.

12th-13th century, Tibet, labelled Padmapani, late Pala style, private collection.

The large bows that stick out on each side of the crown and the short legs of this figure point to a West Tibetan interpretation of the Pala style. However, the tall panels of the crown, the facial features, the treatment of the hair, the jewellery, and the absence of certain features such as the long strands of hair over his shoulders etc. don’t correspond to the style or period, and we may be looking at a more modern item or at a very individual creation. The bodhisattva does the gesture for bestowing refuge with his left hand (in which there is no sign of a lotus stem which would have identified him as the padmapani form of Avalokiteshvara …






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