Nepal, Avalokiteshvara – rare sculptures

11th century, Nepal, Avalokiteshvara, stone painted with cold gold, private collection, photo by Christie's.

11th century, Nepal, Avalokiteshvara, stone painted with cold gold, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

This very rare sculpture depicts Avalokiteshvara standing on a single-lotus base, the stem of a  large lotus flower in his left hand, his right hand displaying the varada mudra.

11th c., Nepal, Padmapani, painted stone+cold g., 60,6 cm, very rare, close up, Christie's

He wears a mitre-like crown with rosettes and an effigy of Amitabha at the front, foliate earrings and matching necklace, plain serpentine armbands and bracelets, a sacred cord. His knee-length dhoti is adorned with a broad sash. The skin is painted with cold gold, the lips, eyes and hair with pigments.

11th century, Nepal, Phagpa Lokeshvara, wood, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

11th century, Nepal, Phagpa Lokeshvara, wood, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Attributed to a Nepalese artist, this rare wooden sculpture belongs to a group of works that vary from the original Nepalese 7th century sandalwood icon kept at the Potala in Lhasa and known as Phagpa Lokeshvara – a few of them published in the Tibetan section of this blog (although some of them may have been made by a Nepalese artist too). The bodhisattva wears a tall three-panel crown with no effigy of himself at the front, his mass of folded hair showing on each side. He wears  bulky earrings, a long dhoti held in place with a thin belt, a broad sash.

12th century, Nepal, Avalokiteshvara (Khasarpani?), gilt copper alloy, at the British Museum (UK).

12th century, Nepal, Avalokiteshvara, gilt copper alloy, at the British Museum (UK).

This Indian-style sculpture depicts Avalokiteshvara seated on a single-lotus base, his head to one side, a leg pendant, holding the stem of a large lotus flower in his left hand and displaying the varada mudra with the other. He is adorned with bodhisattva jewellery, a beaded sacred cord and a foliate tiara decorated with side bows and an incised band, over his V-shaped hairline. There is a small urna on his forehead. He has a tall ribcage and a slightly cruciform navel and lobed abdomen. There is a pleated sash on his lap.

12th c., Nepal, Avalokiteshvara, cop.+traces gilding, 10,8 cm, back, BM

The back of the sculpture reveals that his knee-length dhoti is decorated with a stippled floral motif inside large circles. On Indian works, these circles are often made of inlaid silver and copper. But for a few loose strands, his long hair is plaited and piled up into a conical chignon topped with a finial.

 

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