This rare Nepalese sculpture of Achala (far more common in Tibet) is a good example of the refined craftsmanship of Newari artists during the Malla period. The deity is half crouching and half kneeling, brandishing his sword and holding his (missing) lasso, clad in a short dhoti incised with a floral motif and held in place with a belt – its pendant ribbon studded with gems. He wears a crown with bows and ribbons, plain armbands and bangles, hoops, beaded anklets, a short necklace with large cabochons typical of the late Malla period, and a celestial scarf with leaves and buds coming out of the extremities.
In his one-head and six-arm form (shadbhuja), Avalokiteshvara sits with a leg pendant, holding a fly whisk, a thunderbolt and a noose in his right hands, a vajra-hook, a long-stem lotus and a water pot in his left hands. There is an effigy of Amitabha in his headdress and a tall rectangular urna on his forehead. He wears an antelope skin knotted across his chest, a sash, an ankle-length dhoti richly incised with a floral motif, princely jewellery including large floral earrings. Unlike the majority of images seen so far, he wears a sacred thread over his right shoulder rather than on the other side. A devotee is kneeling on a lotus bud that stems from the central column which supports the large lotus flower on which he sits.
This eleven-head Avalokiteshvara has 10 hands instead of eight, a feature specific to Nepal. His main hands are in prayer at heart level holding a wish-granting gem. The other right hands hold a dharma wheel, a rosary and an effigy of Amitabha, the lower one displays the varada mudra. In the remaining left hands he holds a flaming pearl, a vase of immortality, a bow and arrow, a lotus flower.
Both in Tibet and Nepal, rock crystal sculptures of Avalokiteshara are few and usually late works. This one is adorned with a tiara, a V-shaped necklace typical of the Late Malla period, matching armbands, two bracelets, a sacred thread, earrings shaped like lotus buds. He wears a short dhoti held in place with a belt and a sash worn diagonally and knotted to one side. The short legs and big feet are in contrast with the upper part of the body and the fine facial features, pointing to a late date within the Malla period.
Avalokiteshvara is seated in a relaxed manner, his right hand resting over his knee, the left one leaning on the double lotus base. There is an antelope skin knotted across his chest, an effigy of Amitabha in his chignon, a long-stem lotus to his left, all of which correspond to the popular padmapani form although he wears no crown or jewellery but for a small necklace (like much earlier Himalayan sculptures, in particular from the Swat Valley).
This image, adorned with large floral jewellery inlaid with stones, shows him displaying the vitarka mudra with his right hand and holding a pot of water in the other (in the manner of Gandharan works), an attribute not normally seen on Nepalese sculptures of this bodhisattva.
This form of Avalokiteshvara, with one head and two hands, stands under a wish-fulfilling tree and usually displays the varada mudra with the right hand and holds a gem or a bunch of jewels at head level with his left hand. We have already seen a full size picture of the above (standing between 2 trees) in a previous post, published the wrong way round. This partial image shows him the right way round, with the jewels in the left hand.
Undated (Late Malla period), Nepal, Chintamani Lokeshvara, copper alloy, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.
Specific to the Newar culture, this form of Avalokiteshvara seems to have been particularly popular during the late Malla period. The above stands under one tree, with jewelled leaves.
Like the first image, this Chintamani (or Cintamani) Lokeshvara stands between two trees that meet to form an arch. There is an effigy of Amitabha at the top, a kneeling monkey to the right of the bodhisattva above head level, a bird on the other side, gems and flowers in the tree. He holds a circular gem in his right hand and a bunch of gems in the other. A devotee is kneeling at his feet while another figure is carrying a bag of riches away. He is adorned with the traditional floral jewellery and a thick garland of woven leaves and flowers.
This is a similar (but larger) work, without the two figures at his feet. The jewels on the tree(s) are studded with red stones or glass.
On this metal sculpture he holds a wish-granting gem in the right hand, held in varada mudra, and a bunch of jewels in the other. The lotus pedestal with the tree is missing but this is the only form of Avalokiteshvara with jewels in the left hand and the other displaying the gesture of generosity.
Standing on a double lotus base with round petals, the bodhisattva of compassion holds his right hand in the gesture of supreme generosity and has the long stem of a lotus flower in the other. He is adorned with a crown and jewellery with a floral design, a long sacred thread, a belt and a sash placed diagonally and knotted to one side.
16th-17th century, Nepal, Padmapani, gilt copper alloy and pigment, private collection, photo by Mossgreen.
We saw a very similar Pala-revival sculpture of Avalokiteshvara in his padmapani form in a previous post. There is an effigy of Amitabha in his headdress, between the small floral tiara and his chignon. He is adorned with bulky jewellery with a floral motif and a matching belt.
His long dhoti is incised with lotus flowers and there is an incised diamond with a lotus at the centre in the palm of his right hand.
The mitre-like crown is specific to Nepal, and in particular to the Malla period. He is adorned with large jewellery with a floral motif and dressed in a long dhoti with an incised pattern, complemented by a belt with a pendant ribbon at the front and an incised sash worn across the thighs.
This Avalokiteshvara has a lotus embossed in the palm of his left hand. He also wears a crown, jewellery and belt with a floral motif, to remind us that he belongs to the lotus family.
Avalokiteshvara, in his padmapani form, holds the stem of an eight-petal lotus flower in his left hand and displays the varada mudra (supreme generosity) with the other. He is adorned with floral jewellery, matching belt and hair ornament on his chignon, a five-leaf crown and a Chinese-style swirling celestial scarf. A foliate halo typical of the Late Malla period is fastened to his shoulders. The left leg is slightly bent and the knee cap prominent.
The above wears a sash tightly drawn across his chest.
This is another example of the bodhisattva standing rather stiffly, but with the head slightly bent. His celestial scarf and the sash over his dhoti are richly incised with a floral pattern. There is an incised diamond in the palm of his right hand.
This work is closer in style to the early Malla period, with a graceful pose and more realistic limbs.
Prajnamparamita, mother of all buddhas, is shown here in her one- face and four-arm form, holding her main attribute, a manuscript, in her upper left hand. The upper right hand, which probably held a rosary, is doing the teaching gesture, while the main hands display the dharmacakra mudra (turning the wheel of dharma). She wears a V-shaped necklace and big armbands, an incised scarf that forms an arch behind her and a plain dhoti with an incised hem, all typical of the period. She almost certainly wore large circular earrings studded with turquoise, now lost.
Apart from the rosary and manuscript in her upper hands, she may have a lotus in her lower left hand, while the remaining hand displays the gesture of supreme generosity.
On this stele, the deity is standing and holding the same attributes. There is a second manuscript in her upper left hand together with the rosary, and the lotus is missing from her lower left hand. This form of Prajnaparamita is sometimes mistaken for Vasudhara, but the upper right hand would be held away from the face, in the gesture of accomplishing music, whereas Prajnaparamita holds it towards her face.