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Carving of Guanyin of the South Sea
Item No. 16059

18th - 19th Century, Buddhist, China
Wood with Pigmentation
17.25" x 9" x 5"
( 43.815 x 22.86 x 12.7 cm)
(H x W x D)

This tranquil and pensive Guanyin sits in meditation her hands in her lap in dhyana mudra on a backless throne atop a rocky outcrop. She is flanked on both sides by carved vertical poles which were originally painted in red, the one on the right with a cloth draped over it and holding her vial containing the dew of compassion which she pours over sentient beings and the one of the left upon which is perched the white parrot her constant companion. This iconography suggests that the representation is one of her seated at the entrance to her cave at Putuo where she resides and is a Guanyin pilgrimage site.

The composition and modeling of the statue impart an aura of tranquility and compassion reflective of the revered Bodhisattva. Her sensitive face is framed by strands of hair which are looped over her ears and extend in strands down her shoulders. Her half closed eyes are cast down serenely under painted arched eyebrows. She is garbed in flowing robes in gold and bordered by red on the sleeves and chest, all in contrast to the flesh tones of the face, chest and hands.

There are losses to the back, underside of the statue and the crown as well as to the lacquer finish from age and insects. Nonetheless, the statue is a wonderful spiritual work of art. The back contains a closed bong which probably houses the original contents placed within during its original eye opening ceremony.

Select for detailed information about Guanyin in the Cave of Tidal Sound on Mount Putuo.

Select for detailed information about Chinese Eye Opening Ceremony.

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