Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Standing Avalokiteshvara

16th century
Nepal (Kathmandu Valley)
Sandalwood, traces of polychrome and gold
H. 6 in. (15.2 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1947
Accession Number:
Not on view
Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of this cosmic age, is shown with one hand lowered in the boon-giving gesture (varada mudra), while the other holds a lotus. This rare image is carved of sandalwood—an inherently pure, uncorrupted, and auspicious material. Early texts tell us that the mythical first image of the Buddha was carved of sandalwood at the time he traveled to Tushita heaven to teach his mother the path to enlightenment. Hence, this figure would have been understood as related to that original image-making tradition.
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