Antique Guanyin, Dhyani Buddhas in Crown, China (16123BLEM)


H: 27.5″  W: 13.5″  D: 10.25″ | CALL FOR SHIPPING QUOTE

This serene exquisitely carved Guanyin sits on a plain detached pedestal base in meditation, hands in lap wearing a traditional undergarment tied at the chest that extends over the legs and is covered by a long-sleeved outer garment that flows over the shoulders, loops at the waist, and drapes down the back. This is truly a remarkable carving with delicate incised leaves within caved circles and other leaf motifs appearing on the front, back, and sleeves.  The gentle, sweet face is soft and smooth with very high eyebrows arched over downcast half-closed eyes and her red pursed lips are set in a peaceful and calming half smile. Her high pointed crown depicts the Five Tantric Dhyani Buddhas.


Irvin calls Guanyin one of the Great Chinese Goddesses who are all imperially sanctioned and epitomize the feminine role of compassionate protectors who grant health, long life and safety to all regardless of their social position. Each has large temples, monasteries and small local shrines dedicated to them. This provincial antique-Chinese-wood-carving of Guanyin depicts a gender neutral figure seated on a plain detachable pedestal in meditation (dhyana) with gently carved fingers touching in her lap seated on a detached pedestal. The delicate carved and painted face is idealized but also displays uncharacteristically humanized facial features and is set in a gentle sweet smile with pursed lips and surrounded by prominent pendulous ears. This modest, human and relatable treatment reflects its provincial origins by a local artisan. The crown is set with the Five Dyhani-Buddhas of Tantric-Buddhism, with Vairocana, Amoghsiddhi, Ratnasambhava, and Akhshobhya) each deeply carved and placed in a pointed bordered lobe on either side of a centered Amitabha-Buddha of Eternal Life. As traditional, they are similar images with folded legs in meditation seated on a stylized throne (padmapitha) wearing monks- robes. Garbed in a modest provincial three part open robe tied at the waist, the carver highlighted the front and back of it with curved leaves that swirl in a circular pattern on the legs set in padmasana under the robe. This piece is an outstanding syncretic image drawing on various Buddhist sects. This antique-Chinese-wood-carving is a magnificent example of provincial Buddhist-statues. It is in excellent condition with expected age cracks and much original pigmentation extant, although the face, chest, and hands may have repainted long ago as part of its normal upkeep in a temple or home shrine. It is part of the VA Spiritual-and-Inspirational Collection of Buddhist-Art.

Lee Irwin, “Divinity and Salvation: The Great Goddesses of China,” in Asian Folklore Studies, Indiana University, Vol. 49, 1990, pp 53-68.





Additional information

Place of Origin



Antique, Qing Dynasty


18-19th Century

Materials and Technique

Wood, polychrome, lacquer

Dimensions (inches)

Ht: 27.5” W: 13.5 ” D: 10.25 ”

Dimensions (metric)

Ht: 69.85 cm W: 34.29cm D: 26.035 cm


Excellent, age approrpriate signs of wear

Reference Number



23lbs 5oz

Shipping Box Size