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sicy        Updated:2007-02-14      Text:Large /  Medium  /  Small  

  

Avalokitesvara
Nalanda,
9th -10th CenturyA.D.
Stone
60 x 34 x 11 cm
Acc No. 10513
  
  
Among the Bodhisattvas (Bodhi-enlightenment andSattva –essence),   Avalokitesvara have widepopularity not only India, but in the neighboring countries whereBuddhism was accepted.   Avalokitesvara (the watchfullord),     also called Padmapani (Lotusbearer), is the spiritual son of Dhyani BuddhaAmitabha.   The Buddhist text Nispannayogavalidescribes him of white complexion, displaying the gesture ofvarada-mudra with the right hand and holding a lotus in hisleft.   Avalokiteshwara is said to be Bodhisattva whorules during the period between disappearance of the mortalBuddha-Sakyamuni and the advent of the future Buddha-Maitreya. Heis one of the most popular Bodhisattvas having as many as 108different forms.
  
Here, Avalokiteshwara is seated in the lalitsanaattitude on the pericarp of a fully blossomed double petalled lotuswith his right foot perched on the second lotus. From the stem ofthe lotus there are stalks, arranged in scrolls, ending in lotuses.He is richly adorned with beaded anklets, two girdles, armletshaving a triangular floral motif, a beaded upavita, a beadedhara, a necklace, ear-ornaments and a short beaded crownwith two triangular ornate projections of a ribbon at the sides anda lotus-motif at the centre.   At the base of hisjata-mukuta is the Dhyani-Buddha Amitabha.   Withhalf closed eyes and a smiling face, the Bodhisattva holds in hisleft hand the stalk of a lotus and right hand, with circular markat the centre of the palm, displays the gesture ofvarada-mudra.   His lower garment is beautifullydecorated with floral motifs. The back-slab is richly decoratedwith pilasters having suspended bells at either end. The capitalsupports trefoil arch, crowned by a kirti-mukha (face ofglory). In the lower arches are two vidyadharas with agarland in hands, flying towards the deity.
    
Accompanying figures at the lotus base and one to his left,classify this image as Khasarpana, form of Avalokiteshvaradescribed in the Sadhanamala.  
The peculiar feature of this form is that he is invariablyaccompanied by the four divinities, namely Tara, Sudhanakumara,Bhrikuti and Hayagriva.   The principal figure remainsthe same i.e. one face and two arms holding lotus in left and rightdisplaying varada.     To the left ofKhasarpana is seen Hayagriva with a protruding belly. He holds asword in right hand and a noose in left.   Below him isseen four armed Tara displaying anjali with her two mainarm, while lower right varada. Other side of Tara is theprincely image of Sudhanakumara. His right arm possibly holds lotusstalk and left arm on the corresponding thigh should holdbook.
  
Basing on the iconographic details given in theSadhanamala, the image is identified as Khasarpana form ofAvalokitesvara. The sculptor, while observing the canonicaldimensions in the modeling, has imparted depth with considerableplasticity.   The specimens may be treated as one of thebest out product of the Nalandaatelier.