Antique Guanyin with Lobed Crown, China (16744WHK)


The delicately carved antique Guanyin sits with hands in her lap in dhyana (meditation) mudra and feet in padmasana (lotus position), heels facing up. Her oval head is bent in serene peacefulness with a prominent chin and cheekbones, curving pursed lips, and a wide triangular-shaped nose with a center ridge to form high arching eyebrows that frame the almost closed and almond-shaped eyes. The hair, arranged in a tall bun, curves down the back behind a tall three-lobed crown with flaring triangles decorated with deep-grooved crosshatches. The large pendulous lobes and decorated crown indicate her regal status as an enlightened Bodhisattva. The unusually high forehead and oversized head help the viewer to concentrate on her beautifully formed, quiet and calm face as a model of inner peace and serenity to which all Buddhists strive. Masterful yet simple, this image brings quiet energy to its surroundings. The sculpture has a darkened hue from centuries of smoke from incense and candles, but also has traces of the original red pigment and gilt. The rear cavity for consecration is unusually long. The losses in pigment are consistent with age, and the statue otherwise is in very good condition.


Historically, Bodhisattvas, especially Guanyin, have played a significant role in the Mahayana Buddhist pantheon and, during the Ming and early Qing dynasties small wood bodhisattvas carved by provincial artisans were placed on a home altar along with other Taoist, Popular Religion and  Buddhist statues  of rural and less affluent families and were especially venerated by female devotees.A Guanyin image is revered as a Bodhisattva, a Buddhist term meaning an “enlightened being,“ a soul who, through compassion and altruism, has earned the right to leave this world of suffering and enter nirvana, but has chosen instead to stay on earth to instruct others until all beings are enlightened. Bodhisattvas, of which Guanyin is the most worshipped, take on the suffering from and transfers karmic merit to all sentient beings. They reside in a “celestial” realm which is a blessed spiritual field brought into being by their own virtue and into which they are believed to be able to bring others by their own spiritual power.  Guanyin’s  commitment to saving all living beings means that she devoted herself to being the last person in the universe to attain Buddhahood. This carving is very modest yet spiritual provincial statue statue, with hands in meditation (dhyana)  mudra, feet in padmasana and very humble robes and as seen from its cavity was consecrated to be placed on a home altar.

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Additional information

Place of Origin



Antique, Qing Dynasty


18-19th Century

Materials and Technique

Wood, polychrome, lacquer

Dimensions (inches)

Ht: 8.25” W: 4.5” D: 3”

Dimensions (metric)

Ht: 20.955cm W: 11.43cm D: 7.62cm


8.7 oz


Very good, see description

Reference Number

16744 WHK

Shipping Box Size