Eleven-Headed Bodhisattva of Compassion (Avalokiteshvara)

around 1000
Location: 237 Himalayan
You can copy, modify, and distribute this work, all without asking permission. Learn more about CMA's Open Access Initiative.

Download, Print and Share

Did You Know?

The bottle in his lower-left hand contains the nectar of immortality.


One of the finest surviving examples of its kind, this rare six-armed form of Avalokiteshvara has the slender athletic figure and penetrating expression associated with the art of Kashmir, the main source for western Tibetan styles. This Bodhisattva combines the qualities of a prince and an ascetic, with his crown and jewels combined with the yogi's antelope skin over his left shoulder and prayer beads in his middle right hand. Representing the range of Avalokiteshvara's forms and aspects, his eleven heads are remarkably articulated with individualized features. They follow textual descriptions that describe his three placid faces, three fierce faces, three terrifying howling faces, and one laughing face, all surmounted by a head of the Buddha Amitabha, with whom he is closely associated. Tongues and lips have been inlaid with copper to extraordinary effect, and a miniature seated figure of Amitabha Buddha has been placed in the center of every crown.
Eleven-Headed Bodhisattva of Compassion (Avalokiteshvara)

Eleven-Headed Bodhisattva of Compassion (Avalokiteshvara)

around 1000

Western Himalayas


Priestly Tradition

Eleven Heads

Cultural Crossroads

Bodhisattva of Compassion

Visually Similar Artworks

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@clevelandart.org.

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.