Artist/maker unknown, India
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This master carving from Odisha (formerly Orissa) in the far eastern part of India depicts the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, the embodiment of infinite compassion, in his form as Khasarpana. In keeping with Buddhist texts, he sits with one leg folded, the other hanging down and supported by a lotus footstool. In his unending mercy, Avalokiteshvara drips nectar from his right hand, lowered in the boon-giving gesture, into the beak-like mouth of the tiny demon Suchimukha (literally “needle-mouth”). The other hand, now broken, formerly clasped the stem of a lotus. The triangular face, sinuous body, and crisp carving are typical of images from Odisha.
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