Bronze figure of bodhisattva Guanyin

Bronze figure of bodhisattva Guanyin

Ming dynasty, 16th – 17th century

Height: 13 3/8 inches, 34 cm
Width: 10 inches, 25.5 cm

Bronze figure of bodhisattva Guanyin

A bronze figure of bodhisattva Guanyin, seated in the padmasana lotus position. The goddess is dressed in a long robe, which is tied in a knot around the waist, with graceful folds draped around the knees. Her right arm is half-raised and her right hand expresses the karana mudra, whilst her left arm is held in front of her waist and holds an alms bowl in the palm. An elaborate necklace with swags and pendants encircles her neck. Her hair is neatly tied into a high chignon. Her head is adorned with a pointed crown containing an image of Amitabha in the middle. Her elegant face has a serene expression flanked by elongated earlobes. The bronze is of even, dark brown colour with remains of lacquer around the body.


Guanyin, the Goddesss of Mercy and Compassion and presented as the Indian god Avalokitesvara, became the most popular female bodhisattava in Chinese art.[1] The karana mudra, with the index and the little finger raised and the other fingers folded, expels demons and removes obstacles such as sickness or negative thoughts. The Amitabha, the Buddha of the Western Paradise, appears in her headdress and symbolises her grand hope to take people to Nirvana.  A closely comparable bronze bodhisattva Guanyin, with very similar hand gestures, costume and a pointed crown containing an Amitabha, is dated to the Ming dynasty of the 15th – 16th century and is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.[2] Two other gilded bodhisattvas Guanyin, of comparable style, with similar hand gestures and dated to the Ming dynasty, 16th -17th century, are in the collection of
the Chang Foundation, Taiwan.[3]

Provenance:  Private collection, UK


1 Welch, P. B. Chinese Art- A Guide to Motifs and Visual Imagery, Tuttle Publishing, 2012, p. 200
2 The Metropolitan Museum of Art online collection archive,  accession number: 12.37.161
3 Buddhist Images in Gilt Metal, Chang Foundation, Taipei, 1993, nos. 37 & 38, pp. 87- 90


明 十六 – 十七世紀
高:34 公分 寬:25.5 公分
銅鑄觀音坐像,結全跏趺,觀音面龐圓潤,法相莊嚴祥和,眉間點白毫,耳璫長垂。髮束高髻,頭戴尖 頂寶冠,冠中央端坐一阿彌陀佛。身著肩搭帔帛,下披綢裙,衣褶垂襬順遂;頭巾繒於兩側翻卷,胸 前纓絡垂墜。姿態挺拔豐健,腰身收束,右手於胸前施期剋印,左手捧圓缽施禪定印。整製工法嚴實謹 練,刻鑄精緻細膩,營造端莊寧秀之象。造像表皮呈色深褐中微透棗紅、青綠等色調,或上或下層疊,為銅皮歷久歲月,自然氧化所致。通觀比例勻稱協調,時代沉雋風格別具。紐約大都會博物館藏一件明 代銅觀音坐像,定年為十五至十六世紀作品,不論造型、比例、結印均極為相似,僅尺寸稍大。