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Carving of Guanyin in Lalitsana
Item No. 16533

18th - 19th Century, Buddhist, China
Lacquer over Wood with Gilt
14" x 8" x 4.5"
( 35.56 x 20.32 x 11.43 cm)
(H x W x D)

This sensitively carved White Clad Guanyin sits in Lalitsana, a posture of royal ease, with her left knee up and the right leg bent and lying sideways. In this posture, Guanyin presides over the material as well as the spiritual world. She sits on a backless rockery throne where, at the back, is a carved indentation to receive a detachable aureole that is now missing. The statue is intricately carved with a cloth set over the throne, and, as the White Clad Guanyin, has her hair up in a bun, the whole covered by a hood-like garment that hangs down her back and covers her shoulders. The piece has gilt throughout, and there is an open bung on the back with contents on red cloth still inside.

In this manifestation, Guanyin represents serene beauty and compassion incarnate as well as her virtue and purity. The carving is dated 17-18th century, but it has been was set into a newer base which is probably dated 18-19th century. Probably originally seated on a rockery, the newer base was made for a statue that had an aureole, but the Guanyin in Lalitsana probably was originally carved with no aureole in mind. Although we have a case here of a Guanyin and a base made for different types, the visual result of the union is quite nice and demonstrates how pieces and even their stands were considered sacred and were preserved for a long period of time. The hands of Guanyin are extremely finely carved.

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