Swat Valley, seated Avalokiteshvara (4)

Undated, Swat Valley, Avalokiteshvara, copper alloy, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Undated, Swat Valley, Avalokiteshvara, copper alloy, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

7th-or-8thc-swat-valley-avalokiteshvara-with-attendantsdonors-close-private-on-har

The figure itself is close in style to a 7th century Avalokiteshvara made of a darker alloy published in an early post but the back plate is the same as other works dated 8th century. He sits on a lion throne, one leg pendant and the foot resting on a lotus bud, flanked by attendants. There is an effigy of Amitabha in his headdress and he holds the stem of a large lotus flower in his left hand.

7th-or-8thc-swat-valley-avalokiteshvara-with-attendants-three-donors-private-on-har

We will note the thick embroidered cushion under him, typical of the Kashmir and Gilgit area, and the three kneeling figures on the base, attendants or donors.

9th century circa, Swat Valley, Avalokiteshvara, copper alloy with silver inlay, private collection, photo by Sotheby's.

9th century circa, Swat Valley, Avalokiteshvara, copper alloy with silver inlay, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

Even when the lower part is missing we can identify him through the lotus he holds in his left hand. The way he holds his right hand towards him is recurrent on Swat Valley works, where the “pensive pose” (with the head leaning towards the right hand) was popular.

8th-9th century, Swat Valley, Avalokiteshvara, copper alloy with silver inlay, at the Palace Museum in Beijing, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

8th-9th century (or later copy?), Swat Valley, Avalokiteshvara, copper alloy with silver inlay, at the Palace Museum in Beijing, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

This is another example. He is seated on a lion throne with tassels in the corners and a tasseled cloth at the front, a leg pendant, the foot resting on a lotus flower over a small plinth with an inscription, an effigy of Amitabha in his crown, part of his hair gathered in a fan shape, his eyes inlaid with silver, his nipples (and possibly his lips) with copper, adorned with floral earrings, matching necklace and armbands, a sacred thread, a celestial scarf, wearing a long and finely pleated dhoti. 

 

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