Bronze four-armed and eleven-headed Avalokiteshvara

11th century, Orissa region, India

Height: 14cm 5.51 inches Width 7.5cm 2.95 inches

The eleven-headed Avalokiteshvara is seated in the attitude of ease with the right leg hanging down in front of a double lotus pedestal above a beaded band; the base is sealed and incised with a double vajra. The deity holds a lotus bud in the principal right hand, while the principal left hand holds a water-jar (Kundika). Of the other two hands, one holds a stalk of the lotus (Padma) blossoming above the left shoulder and the other displays the gesture of argumentation (vitarka-mudra). Avalokiteshvara wears bejewelled ornaments including a crown, earrings, a necklace, and bracelets on the upper arms and wrists. The deity sits against an open-work throne-back symmetrically decorated on both sides with makaratoranas (sea creature) interspersed by flaming emblems and surmounted by a lion’s face (kirtimukha). Two standing female attendants flank the figure either side of the lotus base.

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