Detail View: The AMICA Library: Avalokitesvara Padmapani

AMICA Library Year: 
Object Type: 
Creator Nationality: 
Asian; Indian Sub-Continent; Nepalese
Creator Dates/Places: 
Creator Name-CRT: 
Nepal, c. 12th century
Avalokitesvara Padmapani
Title Type: 
Full View
Creation Date: 
c. 12th century
Creation Start Date: 
Creation End Date: 
Materials and Techniques: 
Overall: 62cm
AMICA Contributor: 
The Cleveland Museum of Art
Owner Location: 
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
ID Number: 
Credit Line: 
John L. Severance Fund
The Nepalese bronze seen here represents one of the most revered Buddhist deities, the Bodhisattva of Mercy, Avalokiteshvara. This iconography is attested by the seated figure of Buddha Amitabha in his crown, always present with this deity. The image sometimes is referred to as Padmapani (lotus bearer) since the lotus stalk held in his hand is another identifying mark of this bodhisattva. Here it is held in his proper left hand, shown in the flower-holding gesture (kataka mudra) although now the stem isbroken off. The right hand expresses a boon-conferring gesture (varada mudra). The bodhisattva is clad in a dhoti and adorned with the rich ornaments and the long sacred-thread (yajnopavita). The subtle sway of the body gives it a special rhythm and grace, which is further emphasized by the beautiful and spiritualized face, lighted by a compassionate smile. The unusually sensitive rendering of the body, with its smooth and highly polished skin surfaces, contrasts successfully with the sharp definition ofthe ornaments and clothing, making this image particularly appealing. The twelfth century was one of the most prolific and accomplished periods in metal casting in Nepal, of which this image is eloquent evidence. Not only is it large (by bronze standards) but technically and aesthetically it is a masterpiece. It is one of the most important and beautiful Nepalese bronzes in existence today. The technique, as customary, was cire perdue, the lost wax method. Finishing touches were then added by hand; here they include an additional inlay of semi-precious stones enhancing the ornaments. As a rule images were gilt, of which only slight evidence remains on this bronze. Yet the high copper content, typical of Nepalese bronzes, gives it an unusually deep brownishcoloring that is particularly attractive. S.C.
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