Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Avalokiteshvara (Bodhisattva & Buddhist Deity) - Chaturbhuja (4 hands)

སྤྱན་རས་གཟིགས། 观音菩萨
(item no. 54406)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Gelug and Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Field Museum of Natural History
Notes about the Central Figure

Alternate Names: Lokeshvara Avalokita Lokanata Lokanatha Mahakarunika

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Peaceful

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Avalokiteshvara, Chaturbhuja (Tibetan: chen re zi, chag shi pa. English: the All Seeing Lord with Four Hands) in the pure realm of Potala.

"As the nature of all buddhas, Avalokiteshvara, in colour like stainless conch and crystal, very resplendent, smiling, peaceful and radiant. With four hands the first are folded at the heart, the lower hold a crystal mala and jeweled lotus, two beautiful feet seated in vajra posture, adorned with many attractive silks and jewels, beautified with dark blue hair in tufts [some] loose. On the crown of the head, the wisdom of all buddhas, is the Lord, source of all refuge gathered as one, in essence the Guru in the aspect of Amitabha, in the manner of the Lord of the Family, seated happily." (Ngorchen Konchog Lhundrub 1497-1557).

Above a moon disc, multi-coloured lotus and lion supported throne and backrest Avalokiteshvara sits in the Palace garden in his pure land of Potala from which the home of the Dalai lamas is named.

At the top center is Tsongkapa with Gyaltsab on the viewer's left side and Khedrub seated on the right.

At the lower left is Manjushri, orange in colour, holding in the right hand upraised a flaming wisdom sword. Standing to the right is Vajrapani, dark blue in colour, holding in the left hand a vajra scepter.

Avalokiteshvara is the patron bodhisattva of Tibet and is practiced by all traditions. There are numerous Sarma lineages and different forms of practice which span all four tantric classifications as well as uncounted Kama and Terma (treasure) traditions from the Nyingmapa School.

Jeff Watt 7-1998 [updated 11-2010]

Related Items
Thematic Sets
Buddhist Deity: Avalokiteshvara, Chaturbhuja - Four Hands - Main Page
Buddhist Deity: Avalokiteshvara (Potalaka Pureland)
Collection of the Field Museum of Natural History (Painting)