Swat Valley, seated Avalokiteshvara

Labelled 2nd-3rd century (more likely 7th-8th), Swat Valley, Avalokiteshvara, copper alloy, published on www.artsfromancientlands.

Labelled 2nd-3rd century (more likely 7th-8th), Swat Valley, Avalokiteshvara, copper alloy, published on http://www.artsfromancientlands.

This bodhisattva displays the abhaya mudra with his right hand while holding a pot of water in the other. He is adorned with a crown, large floral earrings and matching armbands, a beaded necklace and bangles, a sacred thread. The eyes are inlaid with silver and the lips and nipples with copper.

8th century, Swat Valley, Pakistan, Avalokiteshvara, dark bronze with silver inlay, photo by T. McCullough.

8th century, Swat Valley, Pakistan, Avalokiteshvara, dark bronze with silver inlay, T. McCullough collection.

This is Avalokiteshvara in his padmapani form (lotus bearer), seated on a lion throne with a leg pendant, holding a large lotus flower in his left hand and a small object, probably a flask, in the other. There is an effigy of Amitabha in his mitre-like crown. His elongated, wide-open eyes are inlaid with silver.

8th-9th century, Swat Valley, Pakistan, copper, zinc and tin alloy, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (USA).

8th-9th century, Swat Valley, Pakistan, or Kashmir, Avalokiteshvara, copper, zinc and tin alloy, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (USA).

The same padmapani with his right hand doing the varada mudra, seated in the vajra position

.8th-9th-c-swat-valley-pakistan-or-k-avalokiteshvara-cop-zinctin-alloy-back

The facial features, the fan-shaped hairstyle and the design of the double lotus base, with large pointed leaves, constricted in the middle and without a plinth, are all typical of the Swat Valley area.

8th century, Kashmir, Avalokiteshvara, bronze with silver inlay, at the Cleveland Museum of Art (USA).

8th century, labelled Kashmir, Avalokiteshvara, bronze with silver inlay, at the Cleveland Museum of Art (USA).

The above was published recently in the ‘Kashmir’ section with a remark about Swat Valley aspects – it certainly bears no resemblance with the other Kashmiri sculptures in that post.  Apart from the pleating of the dhoti and the way it is knotted, the colour of the metal, the fan-shaped hair etc., the way he holds the lotus in the palm of his hand is a distinctive feature which had been overlooked and which corresponds to the Swat Valley.

 

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