Western Tibet, Shadakshari Lokeshvara

14th century, Western Tibet, Avalokiteshvara, copper alloy, private collection.

14th century, Western Tibet, Avalokiteshvara, copper alloy with copper, silver and turquoise inlay, private collection.

Seated in the vajra position on a double-lotus base with plump petals normally attributed to West Tibet, Shadakshari Lokeshvara is adorned with Indian-style beaded jewellery, his hair dyed with lapis lazuli powder, his face painted with cold gold, the eyes and urna inlaid with silver. There are lotuses on the soles of his feet. The design of the rosettes on each side of his crown matches the lotus he holds in his left hand.

14th century, Western Tibet, same as before, photo by Rossi & Rossi.

14th century, Western Tibet, same as before, photo by Rossi & Rossi.

West Tibetan sculptures of bodhisattvas or dyani buddhas made around the 13th and 14th century often have a very tall Indian-style chignon and tall five-leaf crown with rods at the back to secure the panels, and large ribbons flowing upwards. They often have a rather rigid celestial scarf (sometimes forming a frame around the figure).

Same as before, private collection.

Same as before, private collection.

They sit  on a typical double-lotus base with plump (often apple-like) petals and thick beading, the lower part slightly larger than the upper one.

Same as before, copper alloy with cold gold, private collection, photo by Christie's.

Same as before, copper alloy with cold gold, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

They usually wear an ankle-length dhoti, sometimes with a beaded hem and matching belt.

15th century, same as before, copper alloy with copper inlay, private collection ,photo by Koller.

15th century, same as before, copper alloy with copper inlay, private collection, photo by Koller.

Occasionally, the ribbons of the crown are replaced with bows (particularly large on the above example).

Same as before, photo by Koller.

Same as before, brass with copper and turquoise inlay, private collection, photo by Mossgreen.

The tall chignon (jatamukata) is always topped with a finial, sometimes inlaid with a stone, as above.

16th century, Western Tibet, Shadakshari Lokeshvara, copper alloy, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (USA).

16th century, Western Tibet, Shadakshari Lokeshvara, copper alloy, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (USA).

This later and particularly harmonious work depicts the bodhisattva wearing a lower crown decorated with very elegant ribbons, small bows and rosettes, some long strands of hair curling over his shoulders, a diaphanous dhoti with ornate cuffs, princely jewellery and a matching belt, a sash artistically folded around his hips.

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