Guanyin Seated with a Vial and Parrot
Item No. 16246
18th Century, Buddhist, China
Wood with Gilt
15.5" x 6" x 4.5"
( 39.37 x 15.24 x 11.43 cm)
(H x W x D)
In this image, which was made to be placed on a home alter, Guanyin sits in dhyana mudra (meditation) with her fingers touching in triratna, representing the three gems of Buddhism, the Buddha, the Sangha and the Dharma. . She us seated atop a multi-tiered open lotus which is resting on a concave pedestal. Since earliest times, the Chinese used the lotus to symbolize summer and fruitfulness. With the advent of Buddhism, it took on the additional symbolism of purity because it grows out of the mud but is not soiled by it. The petals of the lotus represent the spokes of the wheel of continued existence to which all unenlightened beings are bound until they reach the stage of awakening and pass into Nirvana.
She framed by two of her most significant symbols which are placed on the vertical members of her throne. On her right is a vial which is the precious vase containing the nectar of compassion and wisdom, the hallmarks of a bodhisattva. On her left is a dove, representing fecundity.
In the back of the image is a cavity into which sutras, messages to ancestors, and string and twigs were placed, representing the innards of the figure being represented...During a ritualistic blessing and eye opening ceremony, a monk would place these items in the cavity, and seal it with a bung at which time it is believed that the spirit of Guanyin would then reside in the statue. Rarely is the cavity still sealed, as it is in this carving.
The carving is in excellent condition with much of its gilt and lacquer in tact.