Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist Deity: Avalokiteshvara Iconography

Avalokiteshvara Main Page

- Non-iconic Forms (Mahayana)

- Iconic Forms (Vajrayana)

- Non-iconic Lokeshvara
- Iconic Lokeshvara
- Bodhisattva: Three Definitions
- Potalaka Pureland

The non-iconic forms of Lokeshvara are based on the Mahayana sutra literature. The iconic forms of the deity are based on the Vajrayana literature of the tantras. Based on the descriptions in the sutras Lokeshvara has one face and two hands, quiescent in appearance, adorned with heavenly garments and jewelry. Non-iconic forms can at times be confused with the iconic depictions of Lokeshvara that also have one face and two hands. Those iconic forms arise from the Vajrayana literature of the tantras. Non-iconic forms of Lokeshvara are almost exclusively referring to sculptural figures. In painting Lokeshvara is generally iconic based on Tantric descriptions and identified by colour, attribute and context.

Database Search: All Images | Paintings | Sculpture | Mandalas

Jeff Watt 2-2007 [updated 9-2014, 3-2017]

(The images below are only a selection of examples from the links above).