Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya

(Formerly Prince of Wales Museum of Western India)

Songtsen Gampo

Songtsen Gampo

King Songtsen Gampo (died Circa 650 CE) introduced Buddhism in Tibet. Though he did not claim any supernatural powers, he was deified and worshipped by the people as the incarnation of Chenresik or Avalokiteshvara, the great protector of Tibet. His images began appearing soon after his death. This one is very similar to the huge terracotta images (8th century CE) of the king at Potala Palace, Lhasa. It is identified by the depiction of the Dhyani Buddha, Amitabha on his tall pleated headgear, as in the images of Avalokiteshvara. The king seated in Lalitasana while his right hand is raised in Abhayamudra, a gesture of reassuarance. The dress and ornaments are similar to those of any royal figure of Tibet. Typical of the male coiffure of Central India, his hair is arranged in two long plaits, which cross each other at the back and fall loose on the shoulders in the front.

Provenance: Tibet

Material: Gilt Bronze

Date: 16th Century CE

Accession Number: 65.11