Shadakshari Lokesvara: Folio from a manuscript of the Ashtasahasrika Prajnaparamita (Perfection of Wisdom)
early 12th century
India (West Bengal) or Bangladesh
Opaque watercolor on palm leaf
Page: 2 3/4 x 16 7/16 in. (7 x 41.8 cm)
Image: 2 1/2 x 1 15/16 in. (6.4 x 4.9 cm)
Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 2001
Not on view
At center is Shadakshari Lokesvara, a four-armed form of the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. His primary hands are pressed together in the gesture of veneration (anjali mudra); his right hand holds a mala and his left hand holds a lotus and a book. He sits in a yogic posture, legs crossed, drawing legitimacy from ascetic practice as a means to harness the power of meditation. This deity is a manifestation of Avalokitesvara, a bodhisattva of our era who embodies compassion and protection and helps clear a path to enlightenment for the devotee.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Early Buddhist Manuscript Painting: The Palm-Leaf Tradition," July 29, 2008–March 22, 2009.
Zurich. Museum Rietberg. "1100–1900: The 40 Greatest Masters of Indian Painting," May 1, 2011–August 21, 2011.