Kashmir, Avalokiteshvara – seated (4)

Undated (10th or 11th century?), Kashmir, Avalokiteshvara, copper alloy with silver inlaid eyes and urna, private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources.

This rare work represents Avalokiteshvara in one of his four-hand forms, a rosary in his top right hand, the lower one doing the gesture of generosity, a long-stemmed lotus in the lower left hand and what looks like a book but may be a sheathed lasso in the upper left hand. Like many 10th and 11th century Kashmiri bodhisattvas, he sits with one leg folded towards him and the other pendant at a right angle. His Swat Valley style lotus seat is on a rocky formation including a kneeling figure, possibly the donor, in a  corner. His facial features are strikingly similar to a 10th century Maitreya we saw in a previous post (see below) but with an effigy of Amitabha in his headdress.

10th century, Kashmir, Maitreya.

12th-13th century, Kashmir, Avalokiteshvara, sugatisamdarshana form, is or was at the Lima Lakhang at the Potala in Lhasa (Tibet), published by Christian Luczanits.

This tantric form of the deity normally holds a rosary and a vajra sceptre in two of his right hands, a vajra-tipped hook, the stem of a lotus and a water pot in his left hands. The above example is seated on an open work hassock with scrolling vegetation supported by a Kashmiri-style plinth with an elephant and other animals at the front. The edge of the plain mandorla behind him is cut out in an unusual pattern of flames and jewels. He is adorned with princely jewellery and a foliate garland, more often seen on standing figures.


Kashmir, various bodhisattvas (2)

Undated ( circa 10th century), Kashmir?, Maitreya, copper alloy, is or was at the Potala, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

But for the missing stepped plinth, this sculpture is very similar to an early 11th century brass Maitreya from the Nagaraja collection, attributed to Kashmir or Western Tibet, including the lotus base with a single row of flat petals going downwards, the design of the flaming mandorla, the beaded belt and matching necklace, the thin scarf incised with horizontal stripes, the pot of water he holds and the sharp point of the longer part of his dhoti, which in this case is on the left side. He also has a fuller face, painted with cold gold and pigments due to worship Lhasa, and wears floral earrings. One interesting detail is the pleating over his right thigh, a feature we have seen only on one  brass bodhisattva (Avalokiteshvara) attributed to Kashmir and  dated late 9th or early 10th century (see below).

Such pleating on the shorter side of the dhoti (normally the left side) is most unusual.

10th–11th century, Kashmir, Avalokiteshvara and attendants, copper alloy and pigment, at the Palace Museum in Beijing, photo published on Himalayan Art Resources.

This Avalokiteshvara in his padmapani form is flanked by two females, one holding a fully open lotus, the other holding a blue lotus (utpala), each wearing a tunic with a tight-fitting bodice and a crescent-shaped lower part typical of Kashmiri art. Some pleats are coarsely incised on the shorter side of his dhoti.



Kashmir, various bodhisattvas

10th century, Kashmir, Avalokiteshvara, bronze with silver inlay, at the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City (USA).

Avalokiteshvara, in his padmapani form, has traces of cold gold on his face and blue pigment in his hair, indicating that the image was worshipped in Tibet. The image displays various elements which differ from Kashmiri standards, such as the absence of marked pectorals, a very thin waist, a sash across his chest, a broader and shorter halo.

The deity has an effigy of Amitabha in his headdress.

11th century, Kashmir, possibly Manjushri in his Kumara form, brass with silver and copper inlay, published by Dr Ajay Kumar Singh.

This bodhisattva has four hands in which he holds a trident, a lotus topped with a book and a water pot, the remaining one does the gesture of supreme generosity. He is adorned with a tripartite crown, jewellery and a celestial scarf with fluttering ends shaped like flowers.

11th-13th century, Kashmir, Amoghapasha, bronze with silver inlay, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Amoghapasha, in his one-head and six-hand form, stands on a lotus with thick petals shaped like hooves, a two-piece flaming mandorla behind him, a foliate garland around his neck.

One of his right hands does the gesture of generosity, the others hold a vajra and a vajra-handled hammer. One of his left hands is placed on his hip, the others hold a bell and a noose – his distinctive attribute  (pasha). His eyes are inlaid with silver. His cruciform navel and lobed abdomen are typical of Kahmiri metal sculptures but one would expect marked pectorals and nipples. His facial features, with wide-open eyes and generous lips, are reminiscent of Tibetan art.



Kashmir, Avalokiteshvara – standing (2)

Undated, Kashmir, Avalokiteshvara, copper alloy, published on http://www.huntingtonarchive.org.

The bodhisattva of compassion stands on a lotus over a stepped plinth with a two-piece flaming mandorla, wearing a dhoti shorter on one side and with pointed ends, a pleated celestial scarf with the tips fanning out, large earrings, a beaded necklace and a sacred thread. His right hand displays the gesture of supreme generosity, the other holds the stem of a fully open lotus. This form of Avalokiteshvara usually has an effigy of Amitabha in his headdress, presently missing.

Circa 1000, Kashmir, Avalokiteshvara, brass (copper) alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

According to the inscription on the base, this masterpiece once belonged to prince Nagaraja from the Guge kindgom (Western Tibet). His right hand does the fear-allaying gesture.

His eyes are inlaid with silver. There is a small effigy of Amitabha on the central panel of his crown, made of three triangular panels. He is adorned with floral earrings and beaded accessories including a belt with a floral buckle.


Kashmir, Avalokiteshvara – seated (3)

10th century, Kashmir, Lokeshvara, brass, at the Brooklyn Museum (USA).

This six-hand form of Avalokiteshvara holds a rosary and a vajra held to his heart in two of his right hands while the other displays the gesture of generosity. The top left hand holds a hook, the middle one a water pot, and the lower one the stem of a lotus. There is an effigy of Amitabha in his headdress and an antelope skin over his left shoulder. He sits with a leg pendant, on a lotus with a cylindrical base, over a stepped plinth with a small kneeling figure (devotee or donor) and a large flaming mandorla (with U-shaped flames on the halo often seen on works from Jammu and Kashmir).

11th century, Kashmir, Avalokiteshvara, brass, at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York (USA).

A similar iconography, with two female attendants.

Undated, Kashmir, Swat Valley style, chaturbhuja Avalokiteshvara, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

A rare four-armed form of the deity, holding a rosary, a lotus and a missing attribute, the lower right hand displaying the gesture of generosity. He sits on a Swat Valley style lotus base with a devotee, possibly the donor, fastened to the rocky formation below.


Kashmir, Avalokiteshvara – seated (2)

8th-9th century, Kashmir, Rakta Lokeshvara (Vajradharma), bronze, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

This striking sculpture depicts Avalokiteshvara in his vajradharma Lokeshvara form, seated in the vajra position on a double-lotus with elongated petals, atop a stepped plinth with a peacock at the front. Behind him, a very ornate flaming arch with a stupa and a sun+moon finial.

Avalokiteshvara has a large effigy of Amitabha in his headdress, an antelope skin over his left shoulder and a long garland of flowers around his neck. His eyes are inlaid with silver but not the urna, which is incised, like the nipples. The broad ribbons of the crown and the delicate face with a sharp nose and tiny mouth are typical of early Kashmiri brass sculptures.

This form of the deity plucks, with the right hand, a lotus bud held in the other.

The sculpture may have from the same workshop as another brass item from Kashmir published in a previous post called ‘Deity with Lasso’ (see below).

13th century, Kashmir, Amoghasiddhi, brass, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

It was labelled 13th century, Kashmir, Amoghasiddhi but it doesn’t correspond to the iconography for that deity and the date may be earlier too.

Kashmir, Manjushri – seated

11th century, Kashmir, Manjushri, copper alloy, photo by Polyauctions.

11th century, Kashmir, Manjushri, copper alloy, photo by Polyauctions.

The bodhisattva of wisdom is seated with a leg pendant, on a Swat Valley style double lotus base over a plain plinth, brandishing his sword and holding a manuscript against his heart. He has Kashmiri facial features and graceful body proportions.

Undated (11th century circa) Kashmir (or Kashmir style in Western Himalayas), Manjushri, copper with cold gold and pigments, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Undated (11th century circa) Kashmir, Manjushri, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.


On this variant, the manuscript is on a blue lotus to his left. He has silver-inlaid eyes, cold gold and pigments on his face, lapis lazuli powder in his hair, indicating that the statue was worshipped in Tibet at some stage.

On both sculptures the sword is tipped with a half-vajra.

Undated, Kashmir, Manjushri, brass, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Undated, Kashmir, Manjushri, brass, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

This is a rare form of Manjushri, with two hands and four or fiveheads missing, seated on a Pala-style double lotus base with large beading and plump petals (a design reminiscent of 14th century circa Tibetan works). He holds the stem of blue lotuses, each supporting a manuscript.


The heads are semi-wrathful and adorned with a low tiara, his hands are held in the meditation gesture.