Guanyin Images

In Guanyin Images her face is always gentle, calm and sweet, reflecting infinite wisdom, serenity, love and compassion and has the capacity to calm those who are angry or in despair, comfort those who are sorrowful, and brings forth feelings of love, devotion and contentment. Her almond eyes are shown half-closed  which indicates her perfect harmony of outer and inner life:  half of her vision focuses on the outer world, while the other half is focuses internally for self-reflection. She is often shown in lalitsana, the position of royal ease symbolizing that as a regal personage, she presides over the material world and its possessions as well as the spiritual world. She often hold a scroll which may represent the dharma which she constantly reads or the Lotus Sutra that focuses on Guanyin as protector of the world in the time between the departure of Buddha Shakyamuni and the appearance of the future Buddha, Maitreya. Buddhist statues of enlightened beings are placed in temples, monasteries or home shrines as a reminder of the spiritual potential inherent within all of us.In the Ming and Qing Dynasties this most revered female deity in Mahayana Buddhism became a popular Taoist and Popular/Folk Religion cult figure where local artisans created a new genre of Guanyin dressed in humble robes and simple features blending spiritual and folk traditions. Of her 33 manifestations, the most common at that time were Nanhai Guanyin, Songzi Guanyin and White Robed Guanyin. Lee Irvin includes her as one of the Chinese Great Goddesses along with Mazu and the Queen of the West, all strong female deities who help those in distress no matter what their status.

Showing 1–12 of 18 results

  • Antique Bodhisattva in Meditation, China


    This exquisite 18th-century statue is a Bodhisattva, probably Guanyin, the Goddess of Compassion seated in meditation hands gently rest in her lap and feet in padmasana.  She is exquisitely portrayed as a beautiful young woman with downcast eyes in an aura of serenity and compassion. Every strand of her beautify bun is carved with definition, and in perfect order. Unlike more ornate Guanyin images, this image depicts a humble, unpretentious yet elegant being composed of smooth, gentle flowing lines in a style that helps create an air of peaceful spirituality. The original polychrome and lacquer finish has transformed into a silver hue with a soft patina. This exceptionally fine piece is modeled with elegance, grace, and humility and a radiance that enriches any surroundings and creates its own meditative space.

  • Antique Guanyin a Holding Scroll, China


    This outstanding delicately carved Mahayana Buddhism image is Guanyin, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, seated in the position of royal ease (lalitsana) on a rocky throne, a reference to her cave home the island of Putuo in the Southern China Sea. Masterfully carved, she has gentle curves thrusting her weight in opposing directions in a lyrical posture. Her refined outstretched right hand with gentle elongated fingers rests on her right knee and her left extends across her body to hold a scroll, a common iconographic symbol of the Lotus Sutra, one of the Buddhist scriptures where her deeds and powers are enumerated or the Dharma which she constantly reads. Portrayed as a mature compassionate woman in serene repose, her delicate face has half-closed almond eyes, pursed lips, and full cheeks. Her hair is atop her head in a chignon and she wears a loose robe open at the chest and tied at the waist. The deeply carved folds of the robe and the patterns on the rocky outcrop on which she sits exemplify its superior craftsmanship   Her flowing robe has much original paint  and the piece is in very good condition with normal signs of wear for its age and use including minor paint loses.


  • Antique Guanyin Held Up by Demons, China


    This outstanding Guanyin wood carving is an extremely rare image and displays a wonderful earthy blend of spiritual and folk traditions that resonated with provincial populations. She sits on a lotus above a hexagonal shaped throne in full robes, legs are in lotus posture with the feet upward on the opposite thigh (padmasana), the left hand  in meditation position, the right raised in abhaya mudra , and her lobed crown is centered with Amitabha Buddha inside an aureole which is all normal Buddhist iconography. The four haggard and agonized creatures struggling to hold up the calm Guanyin and her throne on their shoulders is unique, a brilliant visual representation of the triumph of Buddhism over ignorance. Probably placed in a community shrine or Guanyin temple, the rear is unpainted as it was displayed high against a wall and foreshortened to be viewed from below. With its admonitions about greed, aversion and ignorance it is a great metaphor for our times. 


  • Antique Guanyin on a Mythical Hǒu, China


    This remarkable and enchanting figurine is Guanyin on her mount, the Hǒu. Although the Hǒu is often a compilation of 10 animals, here it resembles a Buddhist lion with its open roaring mouth displaying its fangs, a beard, a bushy tail, deer horns and fish scales covering its body The round orb in its mouth representing a pearl can be rubbed for good luck. She is modestly dressed, hair is in a plain bun with a simple crown, and devoid of jewels. She sits on a delicately carved saddle with fringe edges, her left hand holding her belt and her right cradling a ruyi scepter.

  • Antique Guanyin on Elaborate Lotus Throne, China


    Guanyin’s elegance, compassion and serenity are emphasized in this graceful antique provincial carving. Portrayed in meditation with flowing robes on a majestic three-tiered lotus throne she was designed for personal veneration in a home setting.


  • Antique Guanyin with Dhyani Buddhas in Crown, China


    This serene exquisitely carved Guanyin sits on a plain detached pedestal base in the lotus position in meditation, hands in her lap wearing a traditional undergarment tied at her chest that extends over her legs and is covered by a long-sleeved flowing outer garment that flows over her shoulders, loops at the waist, and drapes down her back. Delicate incised leaves within caved circles enhance the robe at the knees, and other leaf motifs appear on the front, back, and sleeves of the robe. The deeply carved folds on the arms and rounded garment hem echo the curvature of her body. Her gentle, sweet face is soft and smooth with very high eyebrows arched over downcast half-closed eyes and above a narrow and small nose and her red pursed lips are set in a peaceful and calming half smile. Her high pointed crown depicts the Five Tantric Dhyani Buddhas.  This is truly a remarkable carving.

  • Antique Guanyin with Lobed Crown, China


    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.

  • Antique Home Altar Figure of Guanyin, China


    This delicately carved home altar figure is Guanyin represented as gender neutral in meditation on a lotus throne.  Her humble demeanor, modest robes and absence of stylized decorative details indicate it was carved by a provincial artisan and its simple elegance exemplifies the best of provincial Ming and Qing carvings. She is a tranquil figure with simple, soft, and beautifully rendered facial details and almond shaped eyes cast down in serene composure. Most of the paint and lacquer was removed leaving  traces of red, white, flesh color morphing to beige on the face and the remaining lacquer has darkened over time. It is in very good condition with expected chips, cracks, and paint losses.


  • Antique Large Guanyin on Lotus Throne, China


    This extraordinary Guanyin originates from rural provincial and less literate urban areas in China.  Not carved in a sophisticated “imperial” style, its great charm depends on straightforward forms in bright and decorative color combinations. She sits on a backless throne resting on a lotus pedestal held up by a stem flanked by lotuses facing out in modified casual royal ease (lalitsana) and her right hand is a relaxed vitarka mudra. Her oversized crown houses a simple Amitabha Buddha in a  lyrical frame  By using vibrant unusual multi-colored color combinations, an informal sitting position, simplified, almost geometric shapes for the head and facial features, and bright modest robes she is reflects a humble folk-art image extremely accessible to her devotees. Its size indicates it was carved for a large home, clan, or community temple.

  • Antique Ming/Qing Guanyin in Meditation, China


    This  delicately detailed Guanyin statue seated in meditation on a two-tiered backless throne has flowing braids, simple necklace, and voluminous robes indicate her regal status, while her pendulous ears, compassionate downcast eyes, serene contemplative expression, and calm smile symbolize her enlightened status. The image’s distinguishing feature is its deeply carved three-part diadem (crown) centered with a carved Amitabha Buddha on lotus throne surrounded by an aureole. Much of the burgundy and red polychrome, gilt and lacquer which covered the piece has been worn by years of use, but it is retains its simple beauty, elegance, and warmth. It is in very good condition for its age and use.


  • Antique Miniature Home Altar Table, Decorative Panels with a Hǒu , China


    As a wish for a prosperous and healthy family with many sons, this small table probably was in a young couple’s bedroom to hold small personal statues and store precious items. On the right panel Guanyin sits a hǒu holding a lotus in each hand and the left panel has two rats with melons.  The 3 drawers and 2 doors have metal teardrop pulls on radiating scalloped discs. The doors and delicately scrolled apron are adorned with finely carved, painted, heavily gilded, and lacquer-covered reliefs surrounded by rounded borders with more auspicious symbols. The piece has a red and brown hue with bright red insets and is in excellent condition.

  • Antique Nanhai Guanyin of the Southern Seas, China


    This charming extremely well-modeled carving depicts a hooded Nanhai Guanyin in her Cave on Mount Putuo seated in lalitsana, below a symbolic arch of draped moss on an open lotus below by two closed lotuses all set above a round base. The Nanhai manifestation of Guanyin was massively popular during the Ming/Ching dynasties and provincial wood images were made for placement on home altars throughout China. Her arm resting on an outcrop holds scrolls represents the dharma and sutras and behind her are a vial with the tears of her devotees and parrot, her constant companion.  Small Nanhai images for home shrines containing all these symbols in such good condition are very rare.


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