Avalokiteshvara, in his padmapani form, stands rather stiffly on a pedestal with a single row of broad peals topped with large beading, backed by a mandorla and matching halo, holding the stem of a round lotus flower in his right hand, doing the varada mudra with the other.
He wears a mitre-like crown with an effigy of Amitabha with large flaps and rosettes, floral earrings, beaded jewellery and a sacred thread, a short dhoti, with a belt and a broad sash across the thighs.
There is an incised diamond in the palm of his right hand, which is placed before a shorter flower that stems from the base.
While there is no doubt that this metal sculpture was made according to the Nepalese style of the early Malla period, the robust chest, the thick waist and thighs, and the stiffness of the pleated sash suggest it was made in a Nepalese workshop in Tibet.
We have seen other similar works from the Kathmandu Valley depicting the bodhisattva with his left foot over his right thigh and his left hand over his knee, adorned with princely jewellery including one or several rings.
Despite the absence of a lotus, the position of his hands and the tiny antelope skin over his left shoulder (of which we can see the head and hooves) suggest that this is indeed Avalokiteshvara.
He wears a five-leaf crown with a ‘Kirtimukha design’ on the front panel, tiny stone-inlaid rosettes, thin flowing ribbons and bows. He has unusual ear adornments shaped like a spiral ending tipped with a jewel.
There is a diamond incised on the palm of his right hand and on his soles.
Seated ‘at royal ease’, leaning on his left hand, the other nonchalantly placed over his knee, this bodhisattva probably had a lotus passing through the piece of metal on his left forearm. This detail, along with the way he sits and the absence of attributes corresponding to other bodhisattvas, points to Avalokiteshvara.