Artist/maker unknown, India
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This master carving from the region of 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 mouth of the tiny demon Suchimukha (needle-mouth). The other hand, now broken, formerly clasped the stem of a lotus. The typical pixie-like facial features, sinuous body, and crisp carving of Orissa link this Buddhist image with the Hindu sculpture of Karttikeya to the left, showing that different religious communities in India often shared the same style of carving and even the same artists.
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