Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Avalokiteshvara (Bodhisattva & Buddhist Deity) - Shristhikantha

སྤྱན་རས་གཟིགས། 观音菩萨
(item no. 24074)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Private
Notes about the Central Figure

Alternate Names: Lokeshvara Avalokita Lokanata Lokanatha Mahakarunika

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Peaceful

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Shristhikantha, Rakta Lokeshvara (Tibetan: jig ten wang chug, mar po. English: the Red Lord of the World): a meditational form of Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion surrounded by fifteen Hindu gods emanated from his body. (See the Shristhikantha Main Page).

This form of the deity is known in Kathmandu, Nepal, as Shristhikantha Lokeshvara. It is clear that the origins of the idea for this depiction are rooted in chapter 4 of the Karandavyuha Sutra written in prose dated to the 4th-5th century (possibly Kashmir).

Karandavyuha Sutra: "From the eyes are the sun [Surya] and moon [Chandra], from the forehead Maheshvara [Shiva], from the shoulder Brahma, from the heart the Great Powerful One [Vishnu], from the two teeth the Goddess Sarasvati, from the mouth all of the wind is born [Vayu], from the feet earth [Bhudevi], and from the belly arises the Water God [Varuna]." bka' 'gyur (stog pho brang bris ma). 'phags pa za ma tog bkod pa shes bya ba theg pa chen po'i mdo. Volume 74, Chapter 4, pages 501-502.

The posture and general appearance of Shristhikantha Lokeshvara is very reminiscent of Arya (Pagpa) Lokeshvara.

Jeff Watt 2-2016

84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha: The Basket’s Display (Kāraṇḍa­vyūha, ’’phags pa za ma tog bkod pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo)

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Thematic Sets
Collection: Christies New York (Painting. March, 2016)
Buddhist Deity: Avalokita, Shristhikantha (Red, Standing)
Buddhist Deity: Avalokita, Shristhikantha (Context & Iconography)