Bodhisattva, Probably Amoghapasa Lokeshvara

Period: early Malla period

Date: 14th–15th century

Culture: Nepal (Kathmandu Valley)

Medium: Wood with traces of gesso and color

Dimensions: H. 70 5/8 in. (179.4 cm); W. 20 11/16 in. (52.6 cm); D. 10 1/2 in. (26.7 cm)

Classification: Sculpture

Credit Line: Gift of Margery and Harry Kahn, 1982

Accession Number: 1982.247


Amoghapasa Lokeshvara, a manifestation of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara and one of the most popular deities in Nepal, is one of the eight tutelary deities of the Kathmandu valley. A small number of nearly lifesize images of him survive from the fifteenth century, of which this is among the finest. He can be identified by the presence of the small Buddha Amitabha, his spiritual father, in his tall chignon, and by his eight arms, only two of which survive in complete form on the Museum's sculpture. The upper right forearm is broken and its hand was held up before the sculpture's chest in the fear-allaying gesture (abhayamudra). The lowered right arm held a water pot and the corresponding left hand is held in a gesture signifying charity (varadamudra). The other missing limbs were originally attached by means of sockets and pins to tenons, some of which are extant. There are traces of gesso on the sculpture and it was undoubtedly originally painted. Despite its losses, the proportions of the figure are elegant, the volumes beautifully articulated, and the benignly smiling face haunting.