Late Malla Avalokiteshvara – standing

15th-16th century, Nepal, Avalokiteshvara, copper with red lacquer, private collection, photo by Christie's.

15th-16th century, Nepal, Avalokiteshvara, copper with red lacquer, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

This is a rare sculpture showing Avalokiteshvara with a stiff body and big limbs, his right hand doing the gesture of generosity, the other as if holding the stem of a lotus (now missing). His knee-length dhoti is held in place with a belt decorated with a pendant ribbon.

15th-16th c., Nepal, Avalokiteshvara, copper+red lacquer

His harmonious facial features are reminiscent of Indo-Greek art. There is an effigy of Amitabha in his headdress, no urna on his forehead. His tiara and armbands are missing.

16th century, Nepal, Padmapani, gilt copper, at the British Museum (UK).

16th century, Nepal, Padmapani, gilt copper, at the British Museum (UK).

This is a similar style but with the traditional gilding. There is a tall urna on his forehead and a small effigy of Amitabha in his headdress.

16th century, Nepal, Padmapani, gilt copper repoussé, private collection, photo by Christie's.

16th century, Nepal, Padmapani, gilt copper repoussé, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

The padmapani form (lotus bearer) of Avalokiteshvara is by far the most common among Nepalese (and Tibetan) works, but here the bodhisattva holds his left hand in front of the lotus rather than grasping the stem, thus showing his ringed fingers. His short dhoti is decorated with an incised motif.

16th-17th century, Nepal, Padmapani, gilt copper, private collection, photo by Koller.

16th-17th century, Nepal, Padmapani, gilt copper, private collection, photo by Koller.

This Pala-revival sculpture depicts him with a richly incised ankle-length dhoti, festooned belt, bulky jewellery and sacred thread. He has a very thin and exaggeratedly bent waist. His right hand displays an incised diamond, the other holds the stem of the lotus to his left. He has gentle, moon-like facial features more often seen on Tibetan works.

17th century, Nepal, Avalokiteshvara, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie's.

17th century, Nepal, Avalokiteshvara, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

This Avalokiteshvara stands on a Licchavi-style pedestal, with graceful body proportions often seen on early Malla works, his head rather stiff, his chignon topped with a jewel, a large floral panel at the front of his crown, adorned with jewellery typical of the late Malla period.

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