Thousand-Armed Avalokiteshvara, Bodhisattva of Compassion
Eleven-Headed and "Thousand-Armed" Avalokiteshvara, Bodhisattva of Compassion
Deity who helps beings reach enlightenment so they can escape the cycle of time
Artist/maker unknown, Tibetan
One of the most popular devotional deities in Himalayan Buddhism, Avalokiteshvara (the Bodhisattva of Compassion) appears in many forms, but this eleven-headed, “thousand-armed” form is one of the most popular. The many heads, eyes, and hands represent the countless ways in which Avalokiteshvara can see, hear, and benefit all sentient beings. This figure is exceptional because two parts of the original multipiece work (the body and the separately cast splay of arms) are preserved together. A third layer of hands originally fanned out at the back of the sculpture to make a complete set of one thousand arms.