The Amitabha image in his headdress and the attributes in his six hands identify this seated figure as Avalokiteshvara in the form of Amoghapasha Lokeshvara, or Lokeshvara of the Infallible Noose. He is so named for the rope held here in his bottom right hand. Once ensnared in this sacred noose, the devotee must tell the truth about and to himself, and this ensnarement can break the bonds of illusion and help a practitioner achieve enlightenment. The middle and top right hands hold a ritual instrument known as a vajra, or thunderbolt, and a fly whisk. The left hands hold (from back to front) a ritual scepter, a water pot, and a lotus. Amoghapasha Lokeshvara is accompanied by two snake-headed semidivinities known as nagas. He is seated in the posture of royal ease (maharajalilasana) on a lotus pedestal that rises from a pond. The leaves and buds of the lotus are flamboyantly represented as a series of swirling forms, and two lions decorate the stem.
Amoghapasha Lokeshvara is one of the tutelary deities of the Kathmandu Valley, and this form was frequently represented in sculpture and painting. A special rite, performed in the eighth day of the bright fortnight of each month, was dedicated to this manifestation of the Bodhisattva of Compassion, and it is possible that sculptures such as this one were the focus of this ritual.
The oval shape of this figure's face, compared with other Nepali sculptures, and the depiction of his hairline as a series of loose curls link this work to Buddhist sculpture made in Tibet and China. On the other hand, the flamboyant treatment of the lotus leaves and the style of garments worn by the attendant nagas indicate a provenance in Nepal. The lack of volume in the treatment of the physique, the interest in design seen in the treatment of the cloth and the lotus, and the rigidity of the figure typify sculptures made in the 16th and 17th centuries.