Antique Wood Nanhai Guanyin of the South Sea, China (19508BME) $595 SPECIAL PRICE

Original price was: $595.00.Current price is: $525.00.

H: 9.75″  W: 5″  D: 4.5″ | FREE SHIPPING!

This enchanting carving depicts Nanhai Guanyin in her Cave on Mount Putuo seated in lalitsana, below a symbolic arch of draped moss with bright pigmentation and considerable gilt. Nanhai Guanyin was massively popular during the Ming/Qing dynasties and provincial wood images were made home altars throughout China. She holds scrolls representing the dharma and sutras, behind her is a vial with the tears of her humanity and parrot, her constant companion. Small Nanhai images with all these symbols in this  condition are very rare.


This elegant antique-Chinese-carving of Nanhai Guanyin is from the late Ming and early Qing Dynasties. She sits on a round pedestal a rock at the entrance to her Cave of Tidal Sound on the island of Mount Putuo, represented by the arched overhead covering and the rough indentations symbolizing the bottom of the cave. She sits in lalitsana (royal ease), her right leg drawn up with bare defined toes exposed and her relaxed arm and hand with well-articulated fingers resting on it.  Her curved left arm holds a scroll in which symbolizes the dharma, (Buddhism tenets), or the Lotus Sutra which describes Guanyin’s magnificence. The parrot sitting on a ledge to her right symbolizes piety. As described in the Mahayana Pure Land Sutra, the Pure Land is home to parrots who help those who have achieved rebirth in the Western Paradise. To her left is a tall slender vial which contains amitra, the precious dew of compassion, healing and immortality which she uses to bless all living beings. She is held up by five lotuses – the middle one fully open, two side ones partially open and the two farthest ones closed buds, symbolizing her enlightenment and the potential for her devotees to reach their own enlightenment. Her hair is set in a top chignon tied with a ribbon (with losses to one side). Her oval face is cast forward with sensitive features and downcast eyes in  contemplation. As one of the Great Chinese Goddesses (Irvin), Guanyin is a syncretic deity worshipped by Buddhist, Taoists, and Popular Religion devotees.  This image made for a home altar is an excellent example of the small provincial wood images created for placement on a home altar portrayed as a modest figure that resonated with common people, although it is  more ornate with gilt and bright pigmentation, much of which remains.  It is in very good condition for its age and use although there are losses to the surface and the vial and parrot were re-applied later.

Click here for the Blog The Emergence of Nanhai Guanyin.

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

Additional information

Weight 5 lbs
Dimensions 14 × 10 × 6 in
Place of Origin



Antique, Ming/Qing Dynasties


17-18th Century

Materials and Technique


Dimensions (inches)

Ht: 9.75” W: 5” D: 4.5”

Dimensions (metric)

Ht: 24.76cm W: 12.7cm D: 11.43cm


1lb 12oz


Very good, see description

Item Number


Shipping Box Size