Guanyin figure | Dehua, China, Qing dynasty (Kangxi period, 1662–1722)

Guanyin figure

Object TitleGuanyin figure
OriginDehua, China
DateQing dynasty, Kangxi period, 1662–1722
Dimensionsheight 23.5 cm
CollectionUniversity Museum and Art Gallery, HKU
Accession No.HKU.C.1953.0014

This figure represents the Chinese Guanyin, the bodhisattva (‘enlightened being’) of compassion. One of the most popular Buddhist figures in China, she originated in India as the male bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, who was transformed after the introduction of Buddhism to China into a female associated with the virtues of compassion and mercy. Guanyin was also worshipped as the patron of fishermen, and by women as a fertility goddess and ‘bringer of sons’. She appears to have been the most popular figural subject at the Dehua kilns during the reign of the Wanli emperor (1572–1620) to the end of the Qing dynasty (1644–1911).