Western Tibet, Avalokiteshvara – standing (8)

11th century, Western Tibet, Avalokiteshvara, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

We saw a very similar padmapani form of Avalokiteshvara from the Brookly Museum, with a tripartite crown including an effigy of Amitabha on the front panel, an antelope skin knotted across the chest, a richly incised dhoti shorter on one side, a rectangular adornment on the rim of the crown, marked pectorals and an angular nose.

His lotus and matching earrings have more petals, he wears an extra necklace, a thick sacred thread, and his garland of flowers has become a long scarf with flat triangular ends.

11th-12th century, Western Tibet, Avalokiteshvara, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Cornette de St Cyr.

This form of Avalokiteshvara usually displays  a lotus in the palm of his right hand, which may be held in a fear-allaying gesture, as on the first example, or in the gesture of supreme generosity, as above.

12th century, Western Tibet, Avalokiteshvara, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

Another illustration of the variation on the scarf/garland of flowers typical of Western Tibet. The bonhomie of these early figures is also one of their main characteristics. The bodhisattva to the left has a stupa in his headdress, an attribute proper to Maitreya, who may also hold a lotus and have an antelope skin over his left shoulder.

The one to the right is Avalokiteshvara in his padmapani form (the lotus bearer) identified through the effigy of Amitabha in his headdress.

12th-13th century, same as before, photo by Christie’s.

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