Originally purchased in remote location in Nepal by our friend and art dealer, The statue was completely smooth with a patina so thick the iconic image was not recognizable It was brought back to Kathmandu where a partial cleaning was done. It’s present condition is where we found it. The date we assigned was a conservative appraisal based on the combined experience of myself and my dealer. The craftsmanship is superb. The statue could easily be much older.
Tibetan Popular Narrative: The popular and almost universal narrative found in the apocryphal Tibetan text called the Mani Kabum a ‘revealed treasure’ of the 12th and 13th centuries states the origins of the Eleven Faced Lokeshvara as follows. At one time the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara made a promise that should he give rise to thoughts of self-benefit may the head break into ten pieces and the body into one thousand. After continuously witnessing the misery of beings in various states of existence, discouraged, he gave rise to thoughts of seeking only his own happiness. At that very instant the head and body shattered. Calling out to Amitabha, the Buddha came forth and spoke words of encouragement. Gathering up the ten pieces of the head Amitabha constructed ten faces - representing the ten perfections. Gathering the one thousand pieces of the body he constructed another with one thousand hands each with an eye on the palm - representing the one thousand buddhas of the Golden Aeon. Finally he placed a duplicate of his own head at the crown - illuminating the entire threefold universe. This story is found in the apocryphal Tibetan text called the Mani Kabum a ‘revealed treasure’ of the 12th to 13th century.