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Kapoor Galleries Inc.

Padmapani Avalokitesvara
Afghanistan or Pakistan (Swat)
6th century
Copper alloy
Height: 6 3/8 in

Padmapani, or lotus bearer, is a bodhisatva who embodies the compassion of all Buddhas. Padmapani is said to hear the cries of all sentient beings and work tirelessly to assist them in their path to nirvana (liberation). Often referred to as Avalokiteshvara or Lokeshvara, meaning he who looks upon the world, he has refrained from achieving his own liberation until every being has achieved liberation from samsara (cycle of suffering and rebirth).

This magnificent sculpture shows Padmapani standing in slight tribhangha (thrice bent posture) with his right hand in abhaya mudra (gesture of reassurance), while his left hand clutches a lotus stalk (missing). Nude except for a loincloth, the bodhisatva exudes sensuosity emblematic of man’s devotion to a higher being. His rounded face with high upward arching eyes confirms that he hears our pleas and will do what is necessary to guide us. His hair forms a chignon, with an image of Amitabha placed in lieu of a crown, while tresses fall upon his shoulder and chest.

The wet sensuous appearance of the bronze is reminiscent of the Gupta style, however the sculpture also exhibits influences from other sources. Specifically the rounded facial modeling and eyes in particular point to Chinese or Central Asian artistic influence.

Provenance: Sotheby’s NY · December 5, 1992 · Lot 36
Collection of Richard S. Ravenal · New York

Published: Indo-Tibetan Bronzes, Von Schroeder, fig. 5A

Published & Exhibited: The Silk Route and the Diamond Path, Klimburg-Salter, pl. 13

Exhibited: Denver Art Museum · December 1994 – September 2010

all text, images Kapoor Galleries Inc.


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