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A27. Eleven headed Avalokitesvara, 36cms, copper gilt, Nepal, end of 18th century.

Avalokitesvara literally means the Lord who looks down from on high. He is the embodiment of compassion and he is depicted in many different forms.

This eleven headed Avalokitesvara was made in Nepal towards the end of the eighteenth century. This form differs from the more frequently encountered form in that it has ten hands instead of eight and the arrangement of the heads is different. In its more usual Tibetan form, this deity has three rows of three benign bodhisattva heads surmounted by an angry dharmapala head which is finally surmounted by a head of Amitabha Buddha.

In this version the first row of three heads are of a bodhisattva followed by a row of three dharmapala heads followed by two rows each of two dharmapala heads and finally a head of Buddha. A few turquoise insets are replacements.

PROVANANCE: Sotheby’s, London, 2
nd April 1990, lot 50.
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