Guanyin in Meditation (Dhyana Mudra)
Item No. 16247
18th Century, Buddhist, China
Lacquer over Wood with Gilt
16.5" x 6" x 5"
( 41.91 x 15.24 x 12.7 cm)
(H x W x D)
In this image Guanyin is epitomized in her role in Pure Land Buddhism, the primary form of Mahayana Buddhism practiced in China. According to Kenneth Ch’en, the Buddha Amitabha of the Pure Land has as his chief minister Guanyin, “the always compassionate bodhisattva who is ever ready to go anywhere to lead the faithful to the land of purity and bliss.” As Amitabha’s constant companion Guanyin has an image of the Amitabha Buddha in her crown, which reminds devotees that “All that is necessary to attain rebirth in the Pure Land is to have faith and devotion as indicated by the …repeated recital of the formula namo-Amitabha or “reference to Amitabha.”
In this statue, which was made in South China in Fukien Province, Guanyin sits on her rocky outcrop with her hands in dhyana mudra , the left hand over the right and her feet in padmasana under her flowing robe. Her five pronged crown, centered with the image of the Buddha Amitabha, holds back her chignon which sits high on her head. Flowing from the crown are two long scarves which extend to her waist.
Her round soft beautifully modeled face is bent slightly forward, almond eyes glancing downward, drawing us into her serene space. A raised urna is centered just above her arched eyebrows. She is garbed in an outer garment extending over her shoulders,, open at the top to reveal a dark undergarment, tied at the waist with flowing sleeves which frame her body and which cascade over the ritualistic cloth upon which she sits.