Antique Songzi Guanyin, Bestower of Children, China (16311XOKE) $2250

$2,250.00

H: 14.5”  W: 8.25”  D: 5” | FOR SHIPPING INFORMATION CONTACT US AT 213-568-3030

This beautiful Guanyin is carved in the rural provincial tradition: a modest, compassionate and humble deity with a simple “crown” of lotus leaves holding and unadorned robe with flowing sleeves extended to her plain pedestal lined with simple leaves. Her face is extremely empathetic with a slight smile as she tenderly grasping her child who resembles the infant Buddha. Given its size and elegance it was probably on a home altar of a well to do couple desirous of having a (male) baby.

 

Description

During the Ming Dynasty, the cult of Songzi  (“Child Giving”) Guanyin became one of the most popular Mahayana religious movements in all Chinese regions, classes with images of her appearing in temples, clan and community shrines and on a home altar worshipped by followers of Buddhism, Taoism and Popular Religion. She holds a child in her lap symbolizes her many roles of granting and raising children: she protects children and  women during pregnancy and childbirth, prevents premature illness or death of mother or child and guards over children after birth. The Lotus Sutra states that a woman who wishes a male child just needs pray to Guanyin (Avalokitesvara) and she will be granted a son, reflecting Confucian belief that a woman’s’ most important role is to produce male heirs as well as the belief that women should not seek solace from male deities especially in requests for off-spring. After Christian missionaries arrived during the 15 to 17th centuries and commissioned artisans to carve Virgin and Child images, Songzi images resembled Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus. As one of the Great Chinese Goddesses she epitomizes the feminine role of compassionate protector who grants health, long life and safety to all regardless of their social position. (Irvin). She is portrayed in this antique-Chinese-wood-carving as a modest provincial image: her “crown” holding her flat simple bun is five pointed lotus leaves with flowing ribbons, unadorned robe and a plain pedestal. She sits in lalitsana, with elegant hands tenderly grasping the child on her lap who mirrors the posture of the infant-Buddha with his right hand up and his left pointing down, although with bent legs. Most of the original gilt, lacquer and pigment that covering her front and back that symbolize her enlightened status remain. The statue is in very good condition, with expected surface losses and small cracks and old insect damage. The child’s arm has been glued together in more recent times. As many Buddhist statues were lost or damaged during China’s modernization, this remarkable and beautiful statue is rare and in very fine condition.This image has been consecrated with its original sealed bung. 

Click here for the Blog Consecrating Wooden Images to Imbue Them with A Life Force

Sources

John Blofeld, Bodhisattva of Compassion: The Mystical Tradition of Kuan Yin, Denver, Shambala Publications, 1978.

Buddha Dharma Education Association, Popular Deities in Chinese Buddhism, buddhanet

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

Eloise Hart, “Kuan Yin: Goddess of Mercy, Friend of Mankind,” Sunrise Magazine, December, 1984/January, 1985.

Chun-Fang Yu, Kuan-yin: The Chinese Transformation of Avalokitesvara, New York, Columbia University Press, 2001.

Marsha Weidner, “Beyond the Monastery Walls: Professional Painters and Popular Themes,  in Latter Days of the Law: Images of Chinese Buddhism 850-1850, Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press, 1994

 

 

 

Additional information

Period

Antique, Qing Dynasty

Date

18-19th Century

Materials and Technique

Wood

Dimensions (inches)

Ht: 14.5” W: 8.25” D: 5”

Dimensions (metric)

Ht: 36.83cm W: 20.95cm D: 12.7cm

Weight

3 lbs 9oz

Condition

Very good, see description

Reference Number

16311XOKE

Shipping Box Size