Although painted depictions of this powerful form of Avalokiteshvara often detail the bodhisattva’s one thousand hands, sculptures such as this frequently follow a convention in which only twenty-two hands are shown. Avalokiteshvara holds his two primary hands in a prayerful gesture before his chest, while the remaining twenty are paired at right and left, bearing implements that illustrate the potency of this important manifestation of the Bodhisattva of Compassion. For example, the lower two hands hold a miraculous lasso and rosary, while the upper two hold disks symbolic of the sun (left) and the moon (right).
Probably Yunnan Province
[ John J. Klejman , New York, 1956; sold to MMA]
New York. Asia House Gallery. "Chinese Art Under the Mongols," January 9, 1969–February 2, 1969.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Arts from the Rooftops of Asia; Tibet, Nepal and Kashmir," April 22, 1971–June 30, 1971.
Mead Art Museum, Amherst College. "From the Land of the Snows: Buddhist Art of Tibet," October 3, 1984–November 15, 1984.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Arts of Ancient China," 2005.