Carved from a single block of white marble and painted with gold leaf and other pigments, Lord Buddha is seated on a lotus throne in “adamantine position” (vajrasana) with his legs crossed and the soles of both feet turned up. His hands are in the gesture of Bhumisparsha mudra (earth touching gesture).
This beautiful white marble Buddha has a serene facial expression. After the Burmese capital was moved to Ava in 1636 during the Second Empire of the Toungoo dynasty (1551-1752), Buddha images were increasingly made of marble with a smooth finish on the surface and minimum decoration, rendering the image with a simple and pure appearance.
This very rare and unique finely modeled Buddha is decorated with hundreds of small Buddhas and elephants throughout. Lord Buddha is depicted standing in a straight pose on a square base, dressed in a short dhoti secured with a pendant belt. His eight radiating arms holding a vajra, ax, sutra, monkey, chakra, rosary (malas), kundika (vase) and phurpa, his broad face surmounted by a tall crown with a diminutive Amitabha nestled in his chignon. Amoghapasa represents a tantric form of Avalokiteshvara and is particularly popular in Nepal, where he is regarded as the tutelary deity of the Kathmandu Valley. A special rite, performed on the eighth day of the moon’s brighter two weeks of each month was dedicated to him, and it is possible that this sculpture was the focus of such a ritual.
In this eight-armed form, Avalokiteshvara is known as Amoghapasha, “he whose noose is unfailing,” after the noose (pasha) he uses to remove impediments to enlightenment. The complexity of casting a multi-armed figure attests to the sophistication of the metal workers. A very unique style of Khmer art!