Himachal Pradesh, a mysterious bodhisattva

10th century Kashmir or Himachal Pradesh, Amoghapasha, brass, at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore (USA).

10th century, Himachal Pradesh (formerly labelled Kashmir), bodhisattva, brass, at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore (USA).

This bodhisattva, with one head and six arms,  is seated with a leg pendant, adorned with a three-leaf crown with a gem at the centre of the front panel, side bows, rosettes and flowing ribbons decorated with a stippled motif. His eyes are inlaid with silver. He wears jewellery, a sacred thread, a foliate garland and a short dhoti incised with a geometrical pattern. His navel is a hole punched into the abdomen (following the Indian rather than the Kashmiri tradition). His lower right hand displays the gesture of supreme generosity, the others hold a missing object (probably a rosary) and an arrow. In his left hands he has a bow, the stem of a lotus and a pot of water. He was originally thought to be Amoghapasha but the position of the fingers seem to indicate that he once held a rosary, not a noose (pasha), and  the bow and arrow are not normally associated with him.

On the other hand, the lotus flower, the rosary  and the water pot are attributes of Avalokiteshvara, who has very many forms. This may be one of them.


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