This is a classic image of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara who has remained an extremely popular deity among the Newar Buddhists. He has been frequently represented in Nepali art and the history of the type of portrayal seen here can be traced back at least to the 5th century.
One of the earliest bodhisattvas in the Mahayana Buddhist pantheon, Avalokiteshvara (literally all-seeing lord) became a focus of independent worship in India as early as the Kushan period (1st–3rd century). Because his principal hand symbol is a lotus, he is also known as Padmapani. An embodiment of compassion, he is characterized as the “Saviour of the World” whose lotus hand extended in charity drips nectar of pity for all sentient beings.
Karl & Meherbai Khandalavala Collection
Gilt copper alloy