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Carving of Guanyin in Meditation
Item No. 16055

19th Century, Buddhist, China
Lacquer over Wood with Polychrome and Gilt
9" x 4" x 3.5"
( 22.86 x 10.16 x 8.89 cm)
(H x W x D)

The male-looking Guanyin is seated in meditation, hands in the lap and legs in vajrasana with the soles of both feet resting upwards on the thighs. He wears the usual three-part robe with the shawl covering the shoulders and ending in curving pleats at chest height, an undergarment open at the chest tied with a brown sash at chest height, and the outer garment with long rounded folds at the knees pulled tight at the ankles and having long wide loose sleeves with long folds at the wrists. The oval-shapes softly molded face displays a wide prominent nose with its lines flowing into wide arched eyebrows, pursed lips, high cheekbones and a prominent chin. The rear of the statue is painted with a gilt layer topped by red paint which was then heavily lacquered with a thick dark coat. The front has a white ground topped by gilt and then a layer of lacquer with some losses showing the constituents of each layer, and, in places, losses reveal bare wood. The evidence shows that the head also had a light ground which was then gilded and lacquered, but most of the surface has been removed and is now covered by thin layers of residual lacquer the previous over over plain wood. The crown seems to be a 20th century replacement, but is centered with a nicely rounded four-lobed creation with Buddha Amitabha seated in meditation on a throne, with an aureole of rays behind him, with floral designs filling the remaining space and with the two side lobes with crosshatch designs. Rather than in its more normal arrangement in a tripartite or single tall bun, the hair is arranged in a wide more circular and flat fashion atop the center of the head. The bung is sealed shut in the back by the layers of lacquer and gilt and probably contains its original contents placed there during an eye opening ceremony.

Select for detailed information about Chinese Eye Opening Ceremony.

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