Pair of stone Guanyin

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Ming Dynasty, 1368 - 1644
96.5 cm

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Both Guanyin are seated in dhyanasana and wear long flowing robes, which fall open at the chest and are folded over the pedestal. The figures wear a long beaded necklace, with several tassels. The serene faces have closed eyes. The first Guanyin (height: 96.5 cm) wears a high elaborate diadem with, in the centre, a figure of Amitabha Buddha emerging from a flowering lotus, with hands in dhyana mudra, folded around an offering bowl. The second figure (height: 92 cm) wears a high headdress with carved curls, and has his hands in vitarka mudra. In his chest is a rectangular niche. On both statues are traces of polychrome pigments.

The Chinese Guanyin is synonymous with the Buddhist bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. The characteristics of these figures; the slender figures, and the high three-leafed headdresses, correspond to the painted clay figurines produced during the Liao Dynasty. The crowns were an important status symbol in the Liao Dynasty, and Buddhist statues as well as secular rulers and elites wore them.


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