Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Avalokiteshvara (Bodhisattva & Buddhist Deity) - Shristhikantha

སྤྱན་རས་གཟིགས། 观音菩萨
(item no. 449)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Gelug
Size 70.49x45.72cm (27.75x18in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# F1996.12.1
Notes about the Central Figure

Alternate Names: Lokeshvara Avalokita Lokanata Lokanatha Mahakarunika

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Peaceful

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Shristhikantha, Rakta Lokeshvara (Tibetan: chen re zi mar po. English: the Red Lord of the World), a meditational form of the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara.

Peaceful in appearance, dark red in colour, he has one face with the hair piled on the top of the head with long black tresses falling across the shoulders. The right hand is extended downward in the mudra of supreme generosity with the palm facing outward. The left hand holds the stem of a pink lotus flower blossoming over the shoulder. Adorned with a crown of gold and a small image of the buddha Amitabha, jewel ornaments, earrings, necklaces, bracelets and anklets, he wears a long green scarf and a deerskin across the left shoulder. The lower body is garbed in a blue and orange brocade skirt. Atop a white moon disc and multi-coloured lotus seat, he stands surrounded by a blue nimbus, ringed with a thick garland of variously coloured flowers, and a green areola.

At the top center is the buddha of 100 Families, Vajrasattva, white, with the right hand holding a vajra to the heart and the left a bell at the hip. At the left is Shakyamuni buddha, with the right hand in the earth touching mudra and the left holding a black bowl. To the left corner is the future buddha, Maitreya, with the right hand at the heart in the mudra of blessing and the left in the lap holding a gold water flask. The front of the topknot on the crown of the head is marked with a small stupa. At the right side is Amitabha buddha, red, with the hands in the mudra of meditation supporting a black begging bowl. At the right corner is Manjushri Namasangiti, orange, with one face and four hands holding a sword, book, bow and arrow.

Surrounding the central figure are 13 worldly deities seated on lotus flowers arising from thin tethers of gold emanating from various parts of the body of Lokeshvara. At the top is Shiva holding a hand drum and trident. Descending at the right is yellow Brahma with four faces and four hands and orange Surya holding an orb of the sun on a lotus blossom. Below is white Varuna with a hood of seven snakes and holding a snake; riding a makara sea creature. Below that is a blue deity holding a banner, riding a brown goat, and below that is the white naga Ananta holding a flower. Descending from the upper left is Indra (Shakra), blue, holding a lute. To the left of that is Chandra holding an orb of the moon. Below is green Vishnu with four hands, riding on a garuda and below is red Agni holding a stick and a red triangle of flame; riding a goat. Below that is the king of the Four Guardians of the Directions, Vaishravana, yellow, holding a banner in the right hand and a mongoose in the left. Below that is an orange deity holding a gold vase and riding a green sea creature.

At the lower left is red Hayagriva, wrathful, holding a stick and lasso. At the left corner is white Ganesha with an elephant head and six hands, in a dancing posture with the right leg drawn up standing on a blue rat. At the lower right is the wrathful protector Shadbhuja Mahakala, black, with one face and six hands, standing on a prone white elephant, surrounded by orange flames. At the right corner is the long-life goddess Ushnishavijaya, white, with three faces and eight hands.

At the bottom center is a naked male figure holding a white conch shell at the chest. From the top of the head a gold tether extends up to the feet of Avalokiteshvara. This is likely the deceased person in whose memory the painting was commissioned.

Jeff Watt 9-99

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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Tradition: Gelug Deity Paintings
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Buddhist Deity: Avalokiteshvara Main Page
Hindu Deity: Shiva Iconography (Buddhist)
Buddhist Deity: Avalokita, Shristhikantha (Red, Standing)
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