Tibet, 15th Century
30.4 cm (12 in)
Onno Janssens Collection, Netherlands, before 1998
Himalayan Art Resources # 66738
This form of Avalokitesvara with eleven faces and multiple hands is a meditational deity with Tantric meditation commitments and ritual practices. The eight arms here serve as an abbreviated method of depicting the one thousand arms that this form of Avalokiteshvara typically displays.
Peaceful in appearance, with eleven faces rising upward in groups of three, the 10th is wrathful and the face at the top is that of the buddha Amitabha. Each face has two eyes and a dot between the eyebrows; long black hair flows across the shoulders. With 8 hands the first pair at the heart hold a precious jewel. The three right hands extended to the side are in the mudra of generosity, holding a Dharma wheel and a crystal prayer bead mala. The three on the left hold a water flask, a bow and arrow and a lotus blossom. Each face is adorned with a gold crown, ribbons and earrings. Necklaces, bracelets and precious jewels adorn the body and a scarf is wrapped about the neck. A deerskin is worn across the left shoulder and the lower body is covered in various silk fabrics. With the two legs together he stands atop a lotus flower.
The bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara is the patron deity of Tibet and appears in a variety of forms both peaceful, wrathful and in large mandalas surrounded by numerous deities. As a universal symbol he embodies the compassion of all buddhas of the ten directions and three times. Lord Atisha, Rinchen Zangpo and others popularized this practice throughout Tibet.
This statue is particularly important for the incredibly fine incising work on the skirt comprising masterfully executed cloud and flower motifs. While the eleven faced form of Avalokitesvara becomes increasingly popular in Tibet and China from the 17th century onward, very few fine examples of this deity exist from the 15th century and before; making this one of the finest known examples of this type. A similar example can be found in the Essen Collection at the Museum der Kulturen, Basel (HAR # 3313927).
Onno Janssens 收藏，荷兰，早于1998年