Rossi & Rossi, Ltd., London, to 1972 
From 1972 to 1990
Unidentified collector-dealer (died 1990), Italy and London, purchased from Rossi & Rossi, Ltd. in 1972 
Around 1990 to 1999
Unidentified collector-dealer, purchased though Rossi & Rossi, Ltd., around 1990 
From 1999 to 2000
Rossi & Rossi, Ltd., purchased from the above-mentioned unidentified collector in 1999 
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Rossi & Rossi, Ltd. in 2000
 According to Curatorial Note 2, Vidya Dehejia, March 28, 2000, in the object record.
 In the early 1980s, the unknown collector moved to London, and consigned the object for sale with Michael Godhuis. However, the object remained unsold until after the owner's death in 1990; at which point, Rossi & Rossi, Ltd. was asked to sell the object (see Curatorial Note 2, Vidya Dehejia, March 28, 2000, in the object record). Also, see copy of the Godhuis catalog and other documentation in the object file.
 See note 1.
 See note 1.
- Previous Owner(s)
Rossi & Rossi, Ltd.
Standing poised in the elegant tribhanga (triple-bent) pose, White Avalokiteshvara (literally, The Lord Who Looks down from on High) is a popular guardian deity of the Kathmandu Valley of the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal, and pious Buddhists perform a special puja (ritual worship) to him each month. The beauty of the oval face, the sinuous lines of the torso, and the deft addition of paint make a significant statement about the achievement of Himalayan art. The image, which would have been honored within the shrine of a Buddhist monastery, is in exceptional condition considering that as a consecrated figure (X-rays reveal the insertion of a variety of metal objects and prayers that empower it), it frequently received ritual baths.
Carved from a single large piece of wood, the image testifies to Nepalese skill in woodcarving. The wood is from the shal tree (shorea robusta), a tropical hardwood highly resistant to decay and insect damage, and therefore favored by sculptors. Artists covered the figure with a smooth layer of gesso (a fine, white plaster) and painted it in a variety of colors and patterns. Missing today is the inlay of precious stones, a Himalayan specialty, as well as two of the eight additional arms.
- Published References
- Thirty Years 1987-2016. London, England. p. 89, 155.
- Paths to Perfection, Buddhist Art at the Freer/Sackler. Washington. pp. 110-111, 112-113.
- Colin Stump. Wisdom of the Mountains: Buddhism of Tibet and the Himalaya. Nottinghamshire, UK. p. 505.
- Collection Area(s)
- South Asian and Himalayan Art
- Web Resources
- Google Cultural Institute
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