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Avalokiteshvara
Avalokiteshvara, Late 7th century
Cambodian, Khmer Empire
Sandstone
Height: 5 feet 9 3/4 inches (177.2 cm)
Purchased with the W. P. Wilstach Fund, 1965
W1965-1-1
[ More Details ]

Let's Look

  • Who could this be?
  • Do you think this statue is of a male or a female? Why?
  • What details do you notice about the statue's hair, eyes, ears, and mouth?
  • Describe the statue's clothing. How did the artist make us see it?
  • Which parts are broken?
  • What is this sculpture made of?

Let's Look Again

  • The name Avalokiteshvara is fun to say once you have practiced it: Ah-vah-lo kih-TESH vah-rah!
  • What parts of this sculpture look most realistic? Why?
  • Close your eyes gently and feel yourself breathing for several minutes. Then open your eyes and look at the statue for two minutes without speaking or writing. What thoughts and feelings do you have about it?

Connect and Compare

Avalokiteshvara
Avalokiteshvara, Late 7th century
Cambodian, Khmer Empire
Sandstone
Height: 5 feet 9 3/4 inches (177.2 cm)
Purchased with the W. P. Wilstach Fund, 1965
W1965-1-1
[ More Details ]
Avalokiteshvara, Bodhisattva of Compassion
Avalokiteshvara, Bodhisattva of Compassion, c. Third quarter of 5th century
India
Sandstone
Height: 48 1/2 inches (123.2 cm)
Stella Kramrisch Collection, 1994
1994-148-1
[ More Details ]
  • Compare the two Avalokiteshvaras above. How are they standing? What are they wearing?
  • Look for mysterious smiles in other works of art (Buddhas, Madonnas, Greek kouros, the Mona Lisa).
  • Tibetan Buddhists believe that the Dalai Lama is a present-day reincarnation of the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. Read about his life and work.

Related Art Project

Create a small sculpture of a person or an animal by carving a bar of unscented soap with plastic knives or craft sticks. This is a subtractive process because you are taking away pieces of the soap. To begin, study and sketch some possible subjects. Look for solid forms, like a cat curled up in a ball, a bright-eyed bird with folded wings, or the head of a sleeping baby. Try to visualize your sculpture from all sides and then create simple forms with rounded contours and smooth surfaces. Work slowly and carefully because what you have carved away cannot be replaced!
 

For more information, please contact The Division of Education by phone at (215) 684-7580, by fax at (215) 236-4063, or by e-mail at .

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