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Rossi & Rossi

Sadakshari Lokeshvara
17th-18th c.
gilded copper
41.5 cm - 16 1/3 in

The bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara is portrayed here as Shadakshari Lokeshvara in the four-armed form. He is seated in vajraparyankasana on a stepped double lotus pedestal. He holds a sacred thread and a lotus flower in his two raised hands, and his two front hands in the gesture of prayer (namaskara mudra) or possibly the manidhara mudra. The latter is the gem-bearing gesture, which alludes to the wish-fulfilling jewel promising enlightenment � this remains concealed to the unattained and might be enclosed within the palms of the deity. He displays the facial features typical of Zanabazar and his school; the stepped pedestal refers to Indian Pala sculpture.

Shadakshari Lokeshvara is also called the Six-syllable bodhisattva. He personifies the mantra om mani padme hum (Hail the Jewel in the Lotus), a magical sound said to reverbate throughout the universe pronouncing the bodhisattva�s vow to save all sentient beings. The Dalai Lamas are said to be emanations of this important iconographic form of Avalokiteshvara.

Avalokiteshvara is one of the most popular Buddhist entities; in Tibet and Mongolia he is looked upon as the representative of the Buddha and guardian of the Buddhist faith, and he is considered Tibet�s tutelary deity. According to tradition, his worship was introduced into Tibet during the seventh century, and King Songtsen Gampo was proclaimed as his incarnation. In the Geluk order, he forms a triad with Manjushri and Vajrapani.

all text, images � Rossi & Rossi


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