Avalokitesvara Padmapani: Bodhisattva of Mercy Bearing a Lotus

Avalokitesvara Padmapani: Bodhisattva of Mercy Bearing a Lotus

c. 1000s

Bronze with gilding, pigment, and semiprecious stones

Overall: 62 cm (24 7/16 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1976.3



Venerated by Buddhists across the world as the perfect embodiment of compassion for all beings, this bodhisattva-a being only one stage away from complete enlightenment-holds his right hand out gently in the gesture of gift-giving. In his left hand, he once grasped the stem of a lotus flower that blossoms over his left shoulder, indicative of the abundant benefits that result from acts of loving kindness.

All bodhisattvas wear royal garments and jewels, in reference to the historical Buddha’s early life as a prince, prior to his achievement of enlightenment through meditations in the forest. In the center of his crown is the tiny seated image of the meditating Buddha Amitabha that identifies this figure as Avalokitesvara specifically.

Nepalese bronzes of the 11th century are solid cast and have an exceptionally high copper content in the alloy that makes the bronze difficult to manage during fabrication. The color achieved by the extra copper creates a distinctive warmth and softness in the sculpture.

The flexed toes of the right foot and the swinging to one side of the gathered ends of his garment impart a sense of dynamism to his ongoing act of giving. His facial expression is sweet and placid but sharp, as though he is keenly aware of the sufferings of the world.

See also

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. 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.

Is something not working on this page? Please email help.website@clevelandart.org.

Request a digital file from Image Services that is not available through CC0, a detail image, or any image with a color bar. If you have questions about requesting an image, please email imageservices@clevelandart.org.