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Robyn Buntin of Honolulu

Chinese Water Moon Guan Yin
Ink & pigment on silk
Late Ming (1368-1644)
overall 79.5 x 33.5 inches, image 45 x 24.5 inches
Condition: Excellent
Price: $ 19,000

The origins of the image called Shui Yue Guan Yin, Water-moon Guan Yin is in the Dun Huang Caves. Guan Yin is the Chinese form of the figure Avalokiteshvara. He was the personification of compassion. Guan Yin is often called the Goddess of Mercy. In China the image of Guan Yin evolves into the form of a female deity. The figure here is rendered in a tender rather feminine style. In this image Guan Yin is shown with the moon behind as a halo, a pool with lotus is in front of Guan Yin who is shown sitting on rocky outcropping. At the top of the image are stone forms that indicate that the figure is in a grotto or cave.

He is holding a lotus in his right hand and a vase with a willow branch is sitting off to the left of his left hand. In the fore ground of the painting there is the image of a small boy in a devotional pose. He is San Cai Tongsi. He is the boy who spreads wealth. This of course is to suggest the rewards of spiritual exercise. The figure of Guan Yin is covered with jewelry and luxurious apparel. The Buddha was of the Indian class of Brahman. The Brahman class in paintings is visually identified by being adorned in rich fabrics and jewelry. The luxurious adornment here is to suggest the high station of this figure and the reverence of the viewer. The painting is unsigned. It is the work of the late Ming period, 17th century.

all text, images Robyn Buntin of Honolulu

 

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