On View In:
Gallery 200
Artist:   Artist Unknown  
Title:   Avalokitesvara  
Date:   571  
Medium:   Black marble with traces of pigments and gilding  
Dimensions:   76 in. (193.04 cm)  
Credit Line:   The William Hood Dunwoody Fund  
Location:   Gallery 200  

Next to the Buddha, the most popular of all Buddhist deities is Kuan-yin, commonly called the Bodhisattva of Compassion. Due to its Indian origin, early Kuan-yin images were represented as Gandharan princes sumptuously dressed in dhotis and adorned with silk scarves and rich jewelry. Held in the left hand is a lotus bud, the Buddhist symbol of purity.

This figure of Kuan-yin is especially significant in that it provides the only dated example of a regional sub-style that marks a departure from the rigid frontality that characterized the sculpture of earlier generations. Inscriptions on the base date the sculpture to 571 and indicate it was commissioned by Meng-yen, a district magistrate; Meng Sung-hsun, a village head; and 41 civic leaders who helped establish a temple at Ku-shih po-Ssu near Sian in Shansi province. By 581, the statue had been desecrated by anti-Buddhists but in that year, according to the second inscription, the temple was restored and rededicated.

Object Description  
Classification:   Sculpture  
Physical Description:   Standing Guanyin with lotus bud(?) in left hand, right hand missing, inscribed base which bears the date 571 A.D., translation of inscription filed with purchase blank, from Xi'an in Shaanxi province.  
Creation Place:   Asia, China, , ,  
Accession #:   18.5  
Owner:   The Minneapolis Institute of Arts