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Western Tibet; late 10th - early 11th century
Brass with inlays of copper and silver
H. 27 1/4 in. (69.2 cm)
Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of Asian Art
This sculpture illustrates the strong impact of the Kashmiri tradition on the art of western Tibet in the late 10th and early 11th centuries. In 988, a king of western Tibet, Yeshe O, gave royal support for the creation of local workshops to produce images for temples, workshops that likely contained artists from Kashmir. The articulation of this image's torso, the exaggerated waistline, the shape of the face, and the strong facial features closely parallels the art of Kashmir and it is possible that this was made by a Kashmiri artist working in Tibet. The pose of the figure and the long garland of flowers encircling him, however, generally characterize works made in areas of western Tibet. Although this bodhisattva is missing an identifying figure in its headdress, the remains of a lotus that was held in the left hand suggests that the image represents Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion.
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