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FIGURE: GUANYIN
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Inventory Number
HKU.W.1997.1158
Category In English
Sculptures
Object Name
Figure: Guanyin
Periods / Dynasties
1744 -
Materials
Wood with gilding
No. of Items (in a Set)
1
Dimensions
W: 50 cm, H: 143 cm
Descriptions in English
Gift of Dr T T Tsui, Tsui Art Foundation Ltd
In China, Guanyin is usually portrayed as a female figure in white flowing robe with necklace and rosary. White is the symbol of purity and rosary is a sign of her devotion to Buddhism. Her left hand is pouring pure water from a water jar called sacred vase, one of the eight Buddhist symbols of good fortune. The water is the dew of compassion. It can remove suffering, purify our body, speech and mind, and lengthen life. Her right hand is holding branches of lotus bud with curled leaves. The bud symbolizes beings who have not achieved enlightenment. The gesture of her right hand shows her typical way of holding ritual objects.
The Guanyin is standing atop a dragon showing her as the patron bodhisattva of Mount Putuo (普陀山), mistress of the Southern Sea and patroness of fishermen in China. The dragon a deity in Chinese mythology commonly regarded as the divine ruler of the ocean. The boy on Guanyin’s knee is one of her attendants Shan–ts'ai–t'ung–tzu (善財童子), the "young man of excellent capacities" who came to her when she was meditating at Mount Putuo.

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