There are 108 different forms of Avalokiteshvara, each with his own mantra. The present image has a feminine appearance which reminds one of his female form in China, Korea, and Japan. In China and Korea he is generally known as Kuan-Yin while in Japan, Kannon. His face is round and very sweet looking, and alert, gentle and serene. The eyelids are lowered in an introspective gaze and there is a small urna or circle between the eyebrows. His nose is slight flat and thin, and his petal-shaped mouth exhibits a slight smile. A combination of power, beauty, calm, and wisdom pervades this face, which in its mildness completely welcomes the beholder. He is dancing in ardhaparyanka on a moon disk placed on a lotus throne amidst the mountains. His upper right hand holds a vajra above his head, while the principal right hand is in a teaching gesture. The remaining right hands hold a rosary, arrow, and a lotus flower, respectively. The first upper left hand carries a club, his second left hand holds a bow, and his third left hand carries a goad, his fourth left hand holds a ghanta (bell), and his lower left hand is in boon-granting gesture. A deer-skin hangs down his left shoulder, which symbolizes compassion and thus identifies him.
The figure is richly ornamented with an exquisitely designed crown, a necklace and earrings, bracelets, a long garland, anklets, and flowing scarf and dhoti. There is a mandorla and halo behind his body and head, respectively, against a tree. At the center top of the halo, Garuda is holding a snake in its humanlike hands; there is a dragon on the right of Garuda.
The present form of Avalokiteshvara is generally worshipped to bring long life, prosperity, and ample progeny. He is also invoked by the imprisoned and by the childless. Moreover, he helps to bring all beings from the six realms into enlightenment. This thangka is very much suitable for the sadhana and ritual of Avalokiteshvara.
Alice Getty, The Gods of Northern Buddhism, Tokyo, 1962
L.A. Waddell, Buddhism & Lamaism of Tibet, New Delhi, 1979 (reprint)
M.M. Rhie & R.A.F. Thurman, World of Transformation: Tibetan Art of Wisdom and Compassion, New York, 1999
This description by Dr. Shailendra Kumar Verma, Ph.D. His doctorate thesis being on the "Emergence and Evolution of the Buddha Image (From its inception to 8th century A.D)."