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Guanyin in Meditation with Aureole and Attendants
Item No. 16428

18th Century, Buddhist, China
Wood with Pigmentation
22.25" x 7.25" x 5"
( 56.515 x 18.415 x 12.7 cm)
(H x W x D)

This carving of a seated Guanyin, originally flanked by both of her attendants, with an aureole behind, is carved from one piece of wood, somewhat uncommon as such images often contain an aureole which is separately carved and attached at the back of the throne.

Her full facial features are set in a benign expression with half closed heavy lidded almond shaped eyes, broad nose and bud mouth below arching eyebrows. Her large ears with pendulous lobes, frame her face under an arched crown with the center panel bordered by flames of Buddhism. She wears long-sleeved outer robes over the inner tunic tied with a sash at the waist, with long sleeves falling back in folds around the crossed legs and extending to the front of the statue

She is framed by a mandorla, which is a boat shaped full body aureole with a point at the top. The elaborate aureole is decorated on the inside with concentric bands and bordered with stylized flames representing the divine light emanating from the bodhisattva. The aureole, as the rest of the figure, was originally covered with pigmented lacquer, with bands of red, green and black. Much of the painted design work of scrolls on the inner bands of the aureole remain.

The front of the statue originally contained two small images of her two attendants who often depicted on either side of the Bodhisattva in sculptural depictions. Sudhana, as he is known in Sanskrit (Shen Tsai in Chinese), now missing through age, would have stood on the left, and the Dragon Princess (Lung Nü in Chinese) stands on the right, holding a flaming gem, a bowl or an ingot which represents the Pearl of Light and which assists Guanyin in reading the sutras in the dark.

The image has deteriorated somewhat over time: the base in disintegrated to the point that it cannot stand independently and is now help in place with a Lucite stand, and the figure of Sudhanna and the base upon which it stood is no longer extant. Much of the original lacquer and pigment are lost and there are age cracks. Nonetheless, the total image is one of charm, compassion and serenity. Images of Guanyin with the two attendants are fairly rare.

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