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Carved Guanyin in Meditation with Inscription
Item No. 16483

16th - 17th Century, Buddhist, China
Lacquer over Wood
13" x 6" x 4"
( 33.02 x 15.24 x 10.16 cm)
(H x W x D)

The inscription on the back of this seated Guanyin indicates that the image was created during the reign of Wan Li(1563-1620), firmly placing it as a Ming Dynasty sculpture. The figure is finely carved and highly decorative and probably originally graced the home shrine of an affluent family. The sumptuous robes are covered throughout in gilt and highlighted by red polychrome on the skirt and the borders of the extended sleeves which curve over the backless throne onto the pedestal. Paralleling the red border of the entire outer-garment which is open at the chest and hangs from the wrists to the top of the base of the throne is a line of decorative raised lacquer beads that is indented from the border, decorates the inside edge of the hem and runs continuously on both sides around the neck, down the chest to the waist, over the wrists and below to the base of the throne and then runs back up the robe and towards the rear. The well carved oval face which leans slightly forward retains some of its original skin-color lacquered pigment. The heavily lidded oval shaped eyes glance downward and the finely carved facial features display an aura of serene meditation. Tresses of hair frame the face and ears and extend in three-part braids down each shoulder. The tall three-lobed crown is decorated with crosshatching and is centered by the Buddha Amitabha on a lotus within an arched shaped aureole with vertical flames of Buddhism.

This is a fine example of the decorative yet spiritual images which were used in home shrines by devout Buddhists.

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