One prominent Buddhist story tells of Avalokiteshvara vowing never to rest until he had freed all sentient beings from Samsara. Despite strenuous effort, he realizes that still many unhappy beings were yet to be saved. After struggling to comprehend the needs of so many, his head splits into 11 pieces. Amitabha, seeing his plight, gives him 11 heads with which to hear the cries of the suffering. Upon hearing these cries and comprehending them, Avalokiteshvara attempts to reach out to all those who needed aid, but found that his 2 arms shattered into pieces. Once more, Amitabha comes to his aid and invests him with a thousand arms with which to aid the suffering multitudes.
The Nepalese carved grey dolomite stone features a nimbus with 18 multi arms holding various ritual implements. 11 head Avalokiteshvara seated on a deceased body. The base has a lotus pedestal and the bottom of the sculpture reveals a protruding carved male joint.
Dimensions: 7 1/2" x 4" x 13" H (on base) 6 3/4" x 3" x 11 1/2" H (statue only)
Early Malla Period (1201-1769)