Nepal, Padmapani – two styles

12th-13th century, Nepal, Avalokiteshvara, gilt copper alloy and stone inlay, at the Brooklyn Museum of Art.

12th-13th century, Nepal, Avalokiteshvara, gilt copper alloy and stone inlay, at the Brooklyn Museum.

This sculpture depicts Avalokiteshvara in his padmapani (lotus bearer) form, standing on a single-lotus base, his right hand displaying the gesture of supreme generosity, the other holding the long stem of a large lotus flower typical of the Transitional Period (often called Thakuri). He is adorned with a crown and rosettes, a necklace and a beaded sacred thread, armbands and bracelets, no anklets. His dhoti is pleated at the front in a zig-zag shape and held in place with a belt. He also wears a sash across the hips and knotted to one side.

13th century circa, Nepal, Avalokiteshvara, copper alloy, published by Rossi&Rossi.

13th century circa, Nepal, Avalokiteshvara, gilt copper alloy, published by Rossi&Rossi.

Most of these sculptures have lost their pedestal and sometimes their lotus, which makes the dating uncertain. The body swaying to one side while the head is tilted to the other (tribhanga) is associated with the Malla period. The style of his necklace and shape of his sash recall 14th century works, the crown with panels going inwards is inspired from an earlier (11th and 12th century) design, with protruding bows added. Unlike  the previous figure, he wears anklets.

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