Seated Male Guanyin in Teaching Mudra (Vitarka)
Item No. 5689
18th Century, Buddhist, China
Lacquer over Wood
43" x 25.5" x 28"
( 109.22 x 64.77 x 71.12 cm)
(H x W x D)
This massive over life sized seated Guanyin was modeled to be viewed looking upward at the image, thus it must have originally been placed in an elevated position in a place of spiritual importance. The lacquer covered image radiates an aura serene yet animated energy. The large body is swathed in a three part robe, open at the chest with deeply carved and lifelike folds draped over the shoulders, the and extending over the folded legs with the right foot exposed, highlighting the lacquered finish and play of light over the figure. The large face is full and rounded, with puffed cheeks and small pursed lips set in a slight smile. Deeply carved arched eyebrows are set above the almond shaped eyes facing downward and meet at the broad nose. The hair is pulled back into a chignon and loops over the pendulous ears by an elaborate tiara decorated with floral roundels at each end and a stylized floral in the center.
The robes are pulled back at the chest to reveal an elaborate necklace with stylized beads and hanging pendant about the undergarment tied elegantly at the waist.
This image is extremely powerful with both hands in vitarka, the teaching or explanation mudra in which a circle is formed by the thumb and index finger to symbolically form the Wheel of Law. The left hand is held up at the chest, while the right is over the knee, each hand with long, slim elegant and well-articulated fingers. This mudra represents the phase of the teachings of the Buddha which discusses and spreads the Dharma and leads listeners to their enlightenment.
The back of the figure is partially lacquered and contains a large cavity used for inserting ritual objects and documents during the eye opening ceremony performed to consecrate the image. The figure is in excellent condition, although there are losses to the chignon in the back and some surface cracks.