Virgin and Child | Dehua, China, Qing dynasty (Kangxi period, 1662–1722) © [Asian Civilisations Museum](

Figural pair

Object TitleVirgin and child
OriginDehua, China
DateQing dynasty, Kangxi period, 1644–1911
Dimensionsheight 39 cm
CollectionAsian Civisations Museum, Gift of Agnes Tan Kim Lwi in memory of Tun Tan Cheng Lock
Accession No.201102085
View in Collection

Made for Christians in Asia and the West, this Virgin and Child sculpture was inspired by figures of Guanyin. When depicted with a child, Guanyin was known as the ‘bringer of sons’, so it was natural for potters in Dehua to adapt their models for the Christian market. The figures can be clearly identified based on the curly hair of the child, the non-Chinese headdress of the woman and the orb with a cross in the hands of the infant—the globus cruciger (‘crossbearing orb’ in Latin) of Christian iconography. Royal inventories demonstrate the appeal of these figures among the noble houses of Europe.