Thousand-Armed Chenresi


Not on view

In this rare early painting of Chenresi, a cosmic form of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, he is represented with ten heads and one thousand arms, which fan out to form a golden aureole. Each of the Buddhist savior’s hands has an eye in its palm, an embodiment of his power to radiate wisdom in every quarter of the universe. He stands elevated on a lotus pedestal and is surrounded by cave-like niches, each occupied by either a lineage lama or a protective deity. At lower left is an offering table with attendant monks. Two inscriptions appear on the reverse: one in Sanskrit (the ye dharma charm-verse, or dharaṇi) and one in Tibetan that praises patience, “the most holy ascetic practice.”

Thousand-Armed Chenresi, Distemper and gold on cloth, Tibet

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