Phagpa Lokeshvara, variants (3)

Undated, Tibet or Nepal?, Phagpa Lokeshvara, wood, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Most wooden sculptures of Phagpa Lokeshvara have reached us with one or several limbs broken.  Apart from his hairstyle, crown and earrings, which are enough to identify him, the left hand gripping the thigh is specific to this form of Avalokiteshvara.

Same as before.

Like the oldest example known so far, the above has an effigy of himself on the front panel of his crown, which is only slightly taller than his hair. His sash is broader and knotted to one side, the end folded to form an elegant swallow-tail design.

14th century, Central Tibet, Phagpa Lokeshvara, polychrome wood, at the Rietberg Museum in Amsterdam (The Netherlands).

A magnificent and well-preserved example, with Tibetan-style  facial features, square shoulders, marked pectorals and broad limbs.

His dhoti, much shorter on one side, is painted with a golden star-like floral motif on a black background, the sash is decorated with spirals.

His body, face and earrings are painted with cold gold, the hair is dyed with blue pigment.

The flaming arch behind him follows a classic Nepalese design: lotuses supporting elephants, viyalas, makaras, linked to the garuda at the top with foliated scrolls. The lotus pedestal on which he stands is on a stepped throne supported by kinnaras (normally on the arch), snow lions and a yaksha. The edges are decorated with embossed vajra sceptres and lotuses.


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