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HOME : Chinese Art : Archive : Gilded Wooden Sculpture of a Seated Guanyin
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Gilded Wooden Sculpture of a Seated Guanyin - LA.561
Origin: China
Circa: 1368 AD to 1644 AD
Dimensions: 30.75" (78.1cm) high x 23.5" (59.7cm) wide x 12" (30.5cm) depth
Collection: Chinese Art
Medium: gilded wood

Location: Great Britain
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Gilded figure of a seated Moonlight Avalokitesvara (Guanyin), seated on a craggy rock pedestal and slighly bent sideway, with hands cross on her knee, one holding what seems like a scroll.

Guanyin, the bodhisattva of mercy and compassion was the most venerated image of the Mahayana pantheon and exerted a tremendous influence throughout the Ming and Qing periods, being depicted in both sculptural works in wood, bronze and blanc de Chine ceramics.

The confession of the Great Vehicle, Mahayana (chin.: Dasheng), spread from Kashmir, Gandhara, Sogdia and Inner Asia into China, and further to Korea and Japan. It teaches that salvation is possible to all sentient beings because they possess the Buddha nature in them and hence all have the potentiality of being enlightened. Enlightenment is simply achieved by faith and devotion to Buddha and the religious ideal, the Bodhisattva (chin.: Pusa), Pratyekabuddha (chin.: Pizhifo) or Arhat (chin.: Aluohan, short: Luohan). These beings, though qualified to enter nirvana, delay their final entry in order to bring every sentient being across the sea of misery to the calm shores of enlightenment. The most important Bodhisattvas are Manjushri (chin.: Wenshushili), the Bodhisattva of Wisdom, Avalokitesvara ("Observing the Sounds of the World", chin.: Guanshiyin, short: Guanyin, or Guanzizai), the Bodhisattva of Compassion, and Samantabhadra ("Universal Goodness", chin.: Puxian), the Meditation Teacher. Buddha appears in different shapes, according to the belief that Buddha appears in every age in a special appearance, like Amitabha (Amitayus, "Buddha of Endless Light", chin.: Namo Amituofo, jap.: Amida Butsu) or Vairocana "Universal Illuminator" or Lokesvaraja (chin.: Pilushena, short: Lushena), the Buddha of the Past; Maitreya (chin.: Milefo), the Buddha of Future.

The elongated features of this Guanyin, the soft draping gilt garments and her relaxed posture would seem to indicate a mid Ming date. - (LA.561)


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