Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist Deity: Avalokita, Shristhikantha (Red, Standing)

Avalokiteshvara (Iconic Forms)

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Description (below)
- Single Face
- Eleven Faces
- Multiple Faces
- Context & Iconography
- Arya (Pagpa) Lokeshvara
- Masterworks
- Source Text: The Basket’s Display (Kāraṇḍa­vyūha Sutra)
- Confusions
- Others...

Video: Shiva in Buddhist Art

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

In the Sutra there is a description of a number of Hindu gods arising from the body of Lokeshvara. However, there is no description of Lokeshvara having a red colour, or in a standing posture. It is most likely that the paintings shown below are also based on the much later and extended version of the Karandavyuha Sutra, in verse, popularized in Kathmandu in the first half of the 2nd millennium.

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Jeff Watt 2-2013 [updated 2-2016, 4-2020]


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)