This is a red sandstone sculpture of the
Bodhisattva Guanyin from the Ming Dynasty.
Here, Guanyin has a serene and peaceful face,
radiating a soothing and touching aura.
Wearing a crown of Buddhas with his master
Amitabha at the centre. The sculpture’s
square-ish face and the use of red sandstone
hints at the possibility that it was made in
Sichuan, Southwestern China, where red
sandstone are abundant.
As the Bodhisattva of Mercy and Compassion,
Guanyin has become extremely popular
among the Chinese since his introduction to
the region. To the mundane, Guanyin
represents unconditional love and kindness,
virtues that are desperately needed for this
world. It is said that when Guanyin was
ascending into the spirit realm he heard the
cries of suffering humans and chose to return
to this world. Thus, Guanyin makes helping
others reach enlightenment his eternal
Approaching the later period of Ming Dynasty,
there was a gradual stylistic change.
Departing from the slender and slim physique
dominating the Yongle and Xuande era, late
Ming sculptures have a relatively bigger head,
a broader chest and a thicker torso.