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5. Avalokitesvara
Eastern India
Pala Dynasty, Circa 12th century
Black stone
Height: 18 inches (45.7 cm)
Avalokitesvara

Seated on a double lotus base in lalitasana “Royal Ease”, his right hand in varadamudra, left elegantly clasping a Padma between his fingers, clad in a diaphanous dhoti, a serene expression flanked by ornate earrings and surmounted by a conical headdress, flanked by an ovaloid aureole. Elegantly adorned in multiple necklaces and elaborate armbands and flanked by a mandorla. Hands carved pinching the undulating stem of a lotus which blossoms with robust petals by his left shoulder, the Lord of Compassion with a narrow waist projecting diagonally for the tribhanga pose, wearing a diaphanous sash and sacred chord draped over his left breast and shoulder, adorned with a bands of pearls across his neck, his benevolent expression with a smile, beaked nose, and downcast eyes. Of superior carving, this image is a splendid example of Pala sculpture. His intricate jewelry, headdress, and sharp facial features were designed to catch and reflect the light of flickering lamps, animating the deity before the devotee. The sinuous lotus stem compliments the lithe movement of his body.

Provenance: A private North American collection, acquired from William H. Wolff 1971



Detail: close-up view
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