Lokanatha (Primary Title)

Unknown (Artist)

mid–11th century
black phyllite
India,South-Central Bengal (present-day Bangladesh)
Overall: 39 1/4 × 17 × 5 in., 180 lb. (99.7 × 43.18 × 12.7 cm, 81.6 kg)
This majestic image depicts Lokanatha, a form of the compassionate Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. Seated in yogic position on a lotus throne, he wears rich jewelry and a crown over his high, piled hair. The deity extends his right hand down in a gift-giving gesture to worshippers on the sculpture's base. These figures include donors, dancers and musicians; a priest beside an altar, and a 'needle-mouth' figure ready to imbibe the nectar of grace that falls from his master's fingers. Lokanatha's attendants, Tara and Hayagriva, also seated on lotus pedestals that flank him. Two more of these blooms appear near his head, and celestial couples hover in clouds above them. A parasol, an ancient Indian symbol of royalty, rises directly above Lokanatha's head. Its finial is a small stupa adorned with a dancing Heruka, the fierce form of an enlightened deity. The outer rim of the composition is carved with a flame pattern, forming a full-body halo around Lokanatha.
Gift of The Council of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Juan March Foundation with additional funds from the Arthur and Margaret Glasgow Fund
2022-2023: Beyond Bollywood: 2000 Years of Dance in Art, Cincinnati Art Museum, November 11, 2022 - February 5, 2023; Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, March 31 -0 July 10, 2023

2009 "A Collector's Passion: South Asian Selections from the Nalin Collection", Rubin Museum of Art, New York, NY, June 12 - November 9, 2009
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

Some object records are not complete and do not reflect VMFA's full and current knowledge. VMFA makes routine updates as records are reviewed and enhanced.