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Carved Image of Guanyin in Meditation
Item No. 16564

18th - 19th Century, Buddhist, China
Lacquer over Wood with Gilt
13.5" x 8.5" x 4.25"
( 34.29 x 21.59 x 10.795 cm)
(H x W x D)

This male Bodhisattva seated in meditation was probably carved in an outlying provincial area, as here there are charming departures from more traditional and typical depictions of bodhisattvas that usually adhere to proscribed canons for portraying enlightened beings. For instance, the hands generally are placed parallel and on top of one other to portray meditation, but here they are depicted at an angle forming an x with the left hand on top of the right. The Bodhisattva is seated in padmasana with the soles of both feet exposed, but the feet and legs seem to be anatomically disconnected and do not displace the normal volume that they normally should. Also, his facial features appear more life-like and identifiable than the traditionally ethereal and stylized visages of traditional bodhisattvas. These charming variances actually add an appeal to this well carved statue.

The Bodhisattva sits on a three-tiered throne: the bottom plinth is decorated with a quatrefoil arch pointed in the center, which was probably meant to be a trefoil cloud-scroll or jui’i design inferring that the Bodhisattva in the heavens. The second tier is an almost square receding plinth atop of which is a wider rectangular tier decorated with twelve lotus petals. The gently curving arches and petals and the three horizontal levels of the throne are in contrast to the deeply carved folds of the Bodhisattva’s garments which create movement and an intriguing interplay of shadow and light on the surface of the statue. He wears an unusually carved six-lobed pointed crown with a fleur de lis like design in five of the six lobes which is echoed below in the design of his neck piece. Thick ribbons extend from the sides of the crown past the ears to the shoulders. The lively energy of the surface of the statue is also reflected in his smile which adds life to the figure.

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