An Emanation of the Boddhisatva Avalokiteshvara, 1959, Nepal. Via Johnson Museum 

An unusual manifestation of the Bodhisattva of Compassion, Avalokitesvara, here appears as Shrishtikanta Lokeshvara, “Beautiful Creation Lord of the World,” a form unique to Nepalese Buddhism. Shrishtikanta emanates the entire pantheon of Hindu and Buddhist deities, here indicated by the golden threads that lead to numerous beings in clouds that surround the multiarmed and multiheaded central figure. Shrishtikanta stands on a lotus floating in a river, above a large fish, and holds a white lotus flower in one of the principle hands, while the other makes the gesture of charity. The innermost layer of subsidiary arms holds white lotus, the next three layers hold deities and animal gods, while the outermost layer of hands holds various attributes. A crowned Bodhisattva surmounts the eleven rows of heads.

Candra Lokesvara, personification of the moon
Origin: Thailand
Date: Late 7th century-8th century (Mon-Dvaravati period)
Measurements: 10 x 4.5 cm
Medium: Gold repousse
Source: Victoria and Albert Museum

Gandraprabha or Chandraprabha Lokesvara is a form of the supreme Buddhist saviour, the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. In this rare form he is shown as a personification of the moon or Chandra, whose symbol of the hare is shown in his nimbus. The style of the figure, with distinctive square shoulders and narrow waist, relates closely to stone sculptures at the Dvaravati period site of Si T'ep, in Petchaburi Province.

Avalokiteshvara, Ta Prohm of Tonle Bati

According to Mahāyāna doctrine, Avalokiteśvara is the bodhisattva who has made a great vow to assist sentient beings in times of difficulty, and to postpone his own Buddhahood until he has assisted every being on Earth in achieving Nirvāṇa. Mahāyāna sūtras associated with Avalokiteśvara include the following: