Avalokiteshvara or Padmapani
Pakistan (Swat Valley) or Kashmir
Bronze inlaid with silver and copper
H. 8 3/4 in. (22.2 cm); W. 5 3/4 in. (14.6 cm); D. 4 1/8 in. (10.5 cm)
Harris Brisbane Dick and Fletcher Funds, 1974
Not on view
The lotus (padma) in his left hand and the small figure of the Buddha Amitabha in his hair make this sculpture among the earliest recognizable representations of Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion and protection. By the seventh century Avalokiteshvara was associated with Shiva, and the antelope skin over his left arm emphasizes Avalokiteshvara’s role as a great ascetic. He sits in the posture of royal ease, with one leg pendant; the pointing gesture of his right hand may indicate contemplation. The lotus throne likely references the idea that Avalokiteshvara resides in a celestial realm.