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Painted Wooden Statue of Guanyin (Avalokiteśvara)

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Period: Northern Song dynasty (960-1127)
Medium: wood
Dimensions: height 127.5 cm

This statue painted in colour was made with several pieces of wood joined together. This Guanyin (Avalokiteśvara) wears a tall coronal with a Buddha's image on top and sautoir hanging down with braids of hair. This image of Guanyin has thin brows, clear eyes, full cheeks and a painted mustache. With the upper part of his body exposed, he wears a long skirt, sautoir on the chest. The clothes and ornaments are sculptured in lively and flowing lines, which convey a graceful rhythm. As he is sitting with one of his legs crossed, his body inclines slightly forward. Since his introduction from India, Guanyin Bodhisattva has merged for a long time into the Chinese culture. Since the Tang and Song dynasties, the worshipping of Guanyin has never declined and Guanyin has become one of the most favoured gods of Chinese believers. For this reason, statues of Guanyin have been made in bronze, stone, wood, clay, porcelain and all other materials. Statues similar to this large wooden Guanyin of the Northern Song period are preserved in the United States, Germany, Japan and other countries. In the temples, most of the statues of Guanyin are placed behind the screen in the back of the principal statues in the Hall of the Great Buddha. This image of Guanyin in the pose popular at the time of its creation looks dignified but gentle. It is an excellent piece of wooden sculpture of the Northern Song dynasty.

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