Tibet, Avalokiteshvara triads

13th century, Tibet, Avalokiteshvara and  two forms of Tara, brass with silver, copper and turquoise inlay, at Harvard Art Museums.

This set depicts Avalokiteshvara with three heads and six hands,  seated on a large lotus supported by two figures. His main hands are in prayer, the lower right hand does the gesture of supreme generosity, the left holds a vajra sceptre,  there is a lotus flower and a lotus bud in his upper hands. On each side of him, two small Tara figures acting as attendants, each with one head and four hands. They both hold a lotus in their upper left hand, one of them holds a manuscript in her right hand, the holds what looks like a lotus stalk.

14th century, Tibet, triad, copper alloy, at the National Gallery of Canada.

Another Pala-style set depicting Avalokiteshvara, in his padmapani form, with Vajrapani to his right, and a bodhisattva with the same iconography as Padmapani on the other side, with a pearl or gem in the palm of his right hand. They stand on lotuses over a plinth with two lions at the front and tortoise-like legs (and tail)  typical of Northeast India, like the serrated flaming arch behind them.

16th century, Tibet, triad, copper alloy and red pigment, private collection, published on en-seercn.com

Shadakshari Lokeshvara ( a six-hand form of Avalokiteshvara), is accompanied by Manjushri, who brandishes a sword and holds lotus that supports a manuscript, and by wrathful Vajrapani, who brandishes a vajra sceptre. They are attended by two Green Tara figures seated on lotus that stem from the base. The absence of a flaming arch behind Manjushri, who is framed by scrolling tendrils like the two Tara figures below, gives prominence to Vajrapani, who does the gesture to grant refuge with his left hand.

 

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