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Head of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara

9th century

Indonesia, Central Java

Volcanic stone

H. 21 1/4 x W. 12 1/2 x D. 13 1/4 in. (54 x 31.8 x 33.7 cm)

Asia Society, New York: Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection, 1979.86

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Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, the Buddhist embodiment of compassion, can be identified by the small image of a seated Buddha in his headdress. His elaborate coiffure and diadem, typical of bodhisattva imagery, is a counterpoint to his downward-looking meditative expression. This head, which measures almost two feet in height, came from a monumentally sized sculpture. An extended rough area that juts out from the back of the head indicates that the sculpture was likely to have been attached to a building.