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HIMALAYAN OBJECTS FROM THE COLLECTION
NEPAL
Buddhist Painting from India, Nepal, and Tibet
Sculpture from Nepal
KASHMIR
Sculpture from Kashmir
TIBET
Buddhist Painting from India, Nepal, and Tibet
Sculpture from Tibet
Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara
Western Tibet; dated 1543
Copper alloy
H. 7 1/2 in. (16.5 cm)
Gift from The Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller Fund
1994.004
The strap tied around the waist and right leg of this seated Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, was used to maintain the body's position during lengthy meditation practices. Avalokiteshvara's left hand holds a lotus and makes the gesture of elucidation and his right hand makes the gesture of gift-bestowal. He wears a finely rendered cloth around his waist (dhoti), etched with five different patterns of flowers. Although only one lotus rises up behind Avalokiteshvara's left shoulder, a cup-shaped holder remains on the base behind him on the right and a small copper knob survives behind the right arm, both of which would once have held the stem of a second lotus in place. The inscription in Tibetan around the bottom notes that the image, commissioned by a Tibetan from a Nepalese artist, is a funerary image. It was created in homage to a lama, Nyari Panchen (mNga ris Panchen, 1497 - 1542), after his death, in order to ensure him good rebirth. As a result of the teacher's great spirituality, the statue represents him as the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara.

Inscription

//Om sva sti/ kun mkhyen lhai lha mchog spyan ras gzigs// padma dbang rgyal dgongs pa rdzogs phyir tu// bzang po lha sbyin rab gus dad pa yis// cho mo lug gi cho 'phrul dus chen la// ne bal mkhas pa a pha jayatis bsgrubs// dge bas 'gro kun sangs rgyas myur thob shog// mamgalam//

"Om sva sti, To honor the memory of Padma Wangyal [who is one with] the omniscient Avalokiteshvara, best god of gods [the donor] Zangpo Lhachin had this [image] completed with deep reverence and faith by the skilled Newar Apha Jayati on the 15th day of the 1st month of the water-female-sheep year. By the virtue [of making this image], may all beings rapidly attain Buddhahood. Blessings." Translated by Amy Heller
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