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The iconography of Avalokiteśvara in Java

Sofia Sundström defended her thesis on 5 March 2020.

I.S. Sundström
05 March 2020
Leiden Repository

Java was once the origin of extraordinary Buddhist art, including a great number of Avalokiteśvara images, in stone, bronze and other metals. These representations of the Bodhisattva date from between the seventh and the thirteenth century CE. They form the subject of this thesis. The earliest Avalokiteśvara images show him in his ascetic form, but over time he takes on a princely form with jewellery and a sacred thread. The majority of the Avalokiteśvara images were produced during the Central Javanese period and examples in stone can be found at Borobudur, Candi Mendut and the Plaosan Lor complex. The Javanese developed their own artistic language to depict Avalokiteśvara which we see in the style and combination of iconographic features. A few of the Javanese iconographic choices for Avalokiteśvara were local and not adopted in the rest of Insular Southeast Asia. The final depictions of Avalokiteśvara show him in a specific iconographic form, Amoghapāśa Lokeśvara. These images are linked to Candi Jago, near Malang in East Java. This thesis is an iconographic study and traces the development of Avalokiteśvara imagery in Java through time and in connection with developments elsewhere.

Supervisor: prof. dr. M.J. Klokke
Co-supervisor: dr. E.M. Raven

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