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Collection

An image of Eleven headed 1000 armed Avalokiteshvara by
Alternate image of Eleven headed 1000 armed Avalokiteshvara by

Tibet

Title
Eleven headed 1000 armed Avalokiteshvara
Other titles:
Eleven-headed, 1,000-armed Avalokiteshvara
Place of origin
Tibet
Year
circa 1800
Media category
Painting
Materials used
thangka; painting on cloth
Dimensions

53.2 x 38.6 cm image; 98.9 x 62.0 cm overall

Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Credit
Gift of Dr John Yu and Dr George Soutter 2006
Accession number
263.2006
Location
Not on display
Further information

Avalokiteshvara is the 'bodhisattva' of compassion, remaining in the material world to assist others to escape the suffering of the world by becoming enlightened. The multiple heads reflect different aspects of Avalokiteshvara – three calm, three angry, and at the top that of Amitabha Buddha, with whom Avalokiteshvara is associated. The heads symbolise his ability to counter evil powers with kindness. The first ten heads represent the ten directions (the four cardinal and four inter-cardinal directions, the centre, above, and below). The 1,000 arms surround the figure in a halo, and usually each hand has an eye in the centre. In this form, the 'bodhisattva' sees in all directions and can therefore relieve all beings’ suffering. Protective deities and lamas (a monk of great learning) from the Gelug (Yellow Hat) sect surround him.

Asian Art Department, AGNSW, 2011.