Eleven Headed Avalokitesvara
MediumPigments on cloth
DimensionsImage : 27 1/2 x 18 3/4 in. (69.85 x 47.63 cm)
Frame : 29 1/2 x 20 3/4 in. (74.93 x 52.71 cm)
Credit LineHope College Collection
LabelThe central figure in this painting is the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. Bodhisattvas are Buddhist saints who have achieved enlightenment and vowed to save all sentient beings from the cycle of rebirth. Because bodhisattvas are perfected beings who transcend gender, they can appear in both male and female forms and are often portrayed as serenely androgynous. The multiple heads and arms of the Avalokiteshvara figure depicted here are meant to signify the saint’s supernatural powers and abilities to help those in need. The figures surrounding Avalokiteshvara represent other saints and holy men while the seated figure at the top of the image represents Amitabha Buddha.