Nepalese / Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara / Licchavi period, 8th-9th centuryNepalese
Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara
Licchavi period, 8th-9th century

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Indian Sub-Continent; Nepalese
Creator Name-CRT: Nepalese
Title: Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 700
Creation End Date: 899
Creation Date: Licchavi period, 8th-9th century
Creation Place: Nepal
Object Type: Sculpture
Materials and Techniques: Gilt copper alloy
Dimensions: H. 13 1/4 in. (33.7 cm)
AMICA Contributor: Asia Society
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1992.003
Credit Line: Asia Society: Estate of Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller
Context: Nepali art was created by artists of Newari descent, and for this reason exhibits a certain conservatism and consistency. Yet because of Nepal's critical location--linking north and east India with other nations of the Himalayas such as Tibet--there are also mutual influences between Nepali art and that of other styles found throughout the Himalayan region. The simple yet naturalistic treatment of the garments and jewelry in this representation of Avalokiteshvara is characteristic of early Nepali sculpture. Identified by a small seated image of the Buddha Amitabha in his crown, Avalokiteshvara is standing with his left hand in the gesture of charity (varadamudra). He wears a long skirtlike garment, a sash tied around his hips, earrings, a necklace, and bracelets. The long cord that runs from his left shoulder and across his right thigh represents a sacred thread and symbolizes Avalokiteshvara's high social and religious status. The smooth torso, broad shoulders, long legs, and relaxed posture reflect the impact of the Gupta style--which prevailed in north India from the 4th through 6th centuries--on the art of Nepal. Nepali traditions, however, are seen in Avalokiteshvara's broad face, full cheekbones, and elegant features. Different from the facial features of Indian bodhisattvas, which are small and full, those of this bodhisattva are larger and thinner: the elegant curves of the eyebrows and eyes and the long thin line of the nose are distinctively Nepali.
Related Document Description: Asia Society. Handbook of the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection. New York: Asia Society, [1981], p. 111.
Related Document Description: Huntington, John C. 'Three Essays on Himalayan Metal Images.' Apollo (November 1983), p. 420.
AMICA ID: ASIA.1992.003
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, Asia Society

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