a - Part a - figure; 110 x 53 x 32cm; height x width x depth at base
b - Part b - aureole; 114 x 101.5 x 4.5cm; height x width x depth
This large sculpture is of iconographical interest, since it is an exceptionally large representation of the cosmic form of the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, known as Sahasrabhiya Lokeshvara. This form of Avalokiteshvara comprises 11 heads and 1,000 arms. The 11 heads are arranged in three diminishing tiers, each of three heads, surmounted by one angry head, and on the top the head of the Buddha Amitabha. The eight hands at the front of the figure hold various attributes: a lotus, an arrow, a mirror, a rosary, and so forth. Behind these hands are a further 42, 21 on each side of the figure, while the halo alludes to the 1,000 arms Avalokiteshvara has to help sentient beings on their paths to enlightenment.
Asian Art Department, AGNSW, June 2004.