This is a gilt-bronze sculpture of the
Bodhisattva Guanyin from the Qing Dynasty.
Peacefully looking downwards at the mundane
world, Guanyin appears meditative and
serene, seated in lotus posture on a lotus
pedestal. Wearing a crown of Buddhas with
his master Amitabha at the centre, he places
his left palm horizontally in front of his chest,
while forming a vitarka mudra with his right.
His keyura is exceptionally decorated, echoing
his elegant and slender robe. The details on
the lotus pedestal provides some hints for
dating. Departing from the Ming dynasty style
which pursues fine details and exceptional
decorations, Qing dynasty casting style gets
relatively modest. In this sculpture, the petals
of the lotus pedestal is simpler when
compared to Ming pieces.
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
This is a rare imperial piece since it bears the
seal of Nei-fu (??, "Inner Ministry").
Therefore, it has to be produced by a top-tier
imperial-patented foundry. Although much of
the gilding has not been preserved, there are
still hints of gold visibly remained.