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Gallery Text

Merchants trading in Silk Road goods, South and Central Asian Buddhist proselytizers, and pilgrims who had traveled to India to study Buddhism at its source brought countless paintings, scriptures, and small bronze sculptures to China and Tibet. These later served as the inspirations for works commissioned by local patrons. Few early Chinese and Tibetan bronze sculptures, and even fewer Indian prototypes, survive, as later generations melted them down to make coins, weapons, or new icons. The fine statues on display here may have been objects of devotion that were set in portable shrines, like the Korean example in the case to the right, for worship in lay people’s homes.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Seated, Six-Armed Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara Flanked by Seated Târâ Figures
Other Titles
Alternate Title: Avalokitesvara
Work Type
sculpture, figurine
probably 13th century
Creation Place: South Asia, Tibet
Persistent Link
Level 1, Room 1610, Buddhist Sculpture, Buddhism and Early East Asian Buddhist Art
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Physical Descriptions
Brass with inlays of silver, copper, and turquoise
H. 10.4 x W. 8.9 x D. 6.2 cm (4 1/8 x 3 1/2 x 2 7/16 in.)
Vera M. MacDonald, Cambridge, MA (by 1991), gift; to Harvard University Art Museums, 1991.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Vera M. MacDonald in memory of John Dolliver MacDonald
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
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Exhibition History

Re-View: S228-230 Arts of Asia, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 05/31/2008 - 06/01/2013

32Q: 1610 Buddhist Art I, Harvard Art Museums, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

Subjects and Contexts

Google Art Project

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at