Framed tangka depicting Avalokiteshvara. Central Tibetan School. The Bodhisattva of Compassion is shown here with eleven heads and a thousand arms. According to legend, Avalokiteshvara acquired his eleven heads when, after putting forth great labor and energy to save all sentient beings, he realized that there were countless more being still to be helped. Doubt concerning his vow to forego Buddhahood until the enlightenment of all had been achieved caused his head to split into a thousand pieces. With the help of Amitabha, his parent Buddha, the fragments were reassembled as eleven heads, shown here stacked in rows of three with the red head of the Buddha Amitabha at the top. Each of his thousand arms, which signify his infinite compassion and power to help mankind, is endowed with an all-seeing eye.