The Buddhist embodiment of infinite compassion, the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, is rarely represented in the rajalilasana seated posture more associated with rulers and Hindu gods. Monumental metal sculpture represents the apogee of Khmer artistic production, and this image is one of few large-scale images from the Angkorian period to have survived intact. In Khmer royal-cult practices, a close identification between a ruler and his chosen deity was customary; thus this figure, so unusually seated in a kinglike posture, may have been intended to serve as both a representation of the bodhisattva and a portrait of the ruler-patron for whom it was commissioned. Without the representation of the Amitabha Buddha, the spiritual mentor of Avalokiteshvara, in its elaborately coiffured chignon, this realistic image could be mistaken for a secular portrait.
#8010. Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Infinite Compassion, Seated in
Artist:Date: second quarter of the 8th century Accession Number: 67.234 Date:second quarter of the 8th centuryMedium:Copper alloy inlaid with silver and glass or obsidianAccession:67.234On view in:Gallery 246