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Ming Dynasty Wooden Sculpture of a Standing Guanyin, China, 1368-1644
Fine Ming dynasty wooden sculpture depicting a standing Bodhisattva Guanyin, the Chinese goddess of mercy. Beautiful and detailed carving of the calmness and compassion rendered in the facial expression, body movement and drape. China, 1368-1644. Remnants of polychrome. This piece has some paint loss and age related stress fractures. Guanyin is known to be the female bodhisattva of infinite compassion and mercy to East Asian Buddhism. Her full name is Guan Shi Yina; Guan means to observe, watch, or monitor, Shi means the world, Yin means sounds, specifically sounds of those who suffer. Thus, Guanyin is believed to be a compassionate being who watches for and responds to the people in the world who cry out for help. To be compassionate is the supreme Virtue of Mahayana Buddhism. She is also associated with vegetarianism, being an act of compassion toward animals. Guanyin was introduced to China as early as the 1st century AD and spread to Japan through Korea soon after Buddhism was first introduced into the country in the mid seventh century. Historically, the worship of Guanyin was represented as the male Indian Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, who is portrayed as a healer to the sick and injured. When the worship of Avalokitesvara migrated into China it was worshiped in its masculine form. Since Avalokitesvara is considered to be the personification of compassion and kindness, and these traits are associated with the Chinese concept of Yin, the feminine aspect of creation, the representation of Avalokitesvara in China metamorphosed to an all female form around the twelfth century due to Taoist influence on Buddhism. Avalokitesvara has the largest number of forms and is the most popular Buddhist deity. Guanyin is thought to be neither male or female but in accordance with the lotus sutra the body can take on any form necessary to relieve suffering. In a modern period, Guanyin is to be depicted as a beautiful woman wearing a white flowing robe (white representing purity) who brings wealth and children made by her devotees. This depiction derives from the earlier Pandaravaisni also known as Padmapani in the sanskrit from. The name Padmapani means "born of the lotus", the lotus leaf symbolizing purity, peace, and harmony. Along with the white flowing robe, Guanyin is also often shown wearing necklaces or adornments of Indian and or Chinese royalty. Guanyin is often depicted alone or with two children. The two children are called Long Nue and Shan Tsai and they are her disciples. Other Images may show Guanyin accompanied by a bird or standing on top of a dragon. The dragon is a representation of a jataka or story of how Guanyin saved the life of Long Nue from the fish who returned to the sea changed into a dragon.
- Place of Origin
- Date of Manufacture1368-1644
- Condition DetailsThis piece has some paint loss and age related stress fractures. The bottom section is missing.
- DimensionsH 38.19 in. x W 11.82 in. x D 7.88 in.H 97 cm x W 30 cm x D 20 cm
- Seller LocationTorino, IT
- Seller Reference NumberFI4TZZZ
- Reference NumberLU104761202150
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Located in Torino, IT
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