Guanyin of the Southern Sea

There is almost a feeling of not being worthy when viewing some pieces of art.  This was one of those moments.  I stood outside the massive carved wall quite a while before entering the exhibit room.  There are mixed stories on whether this Buddha (bodhisattva per the description) is male or female, but whichever… it is breathtaking, both from afar and close up.

The following is from the Nelson-Atkins Museum website.

Guanyin of the Southern Sea, Liao (907-1125) or Jin Dynasty (1115-1234)

Wood with multiple layers of paint
95 x 65 inches (241.3 x 165.1 cm)

This polychrome wooden figure of Guanyin is possibly the best-preserved and most magnificent sculpture from this period of Chinese Buddhist art. A bodhisattva, unlike a Buddha, refrains from entering Nirvana until all sentient beings have attained enlightenment. Guanyin, the bodhisattva most associated with compassion by Chinese Buddhist followers, is depicted here in a pose of royal ease. Gentle and calming, the Guanyin bodhisattva would appeal to patrons in need of emotional support and guidance. With coloring dated to no later than the mid-16th century, the sculpture’s vivid tonal intensity adds to the bodhisattva’s emotional approachability.

Apart from the right forearm and a small outcrop on the rockery, the figure and base were carved from the trunk of a single tree.

More to come on the Chinese New Year experience and yes, lots of noise in all of them.  I’m just not smart enough to do this! :)

~ by kcjewel on January 30, 2011.

5 Responses to “Guanyin of the Southern Sea”

  1. Stunningly beatuiful! It boggles my mind to think about its age.

  2. That is awesome!

  3. I love art, some more than others but somehow it appeals to me in a way I cannot describe..

  4. First image is wondefully framed!

  5. Beautiful shots, well done. I do prefer the far shot, but both are excellent.

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