Gilt bronze figure of 11-headed Guanyin (Avalokiteshvara) - ROM2005_3736_1


Gilt bronze figure of 11-headed Guanyin (Avalokiteshvara)

Medium:Cast bronze with gilding
Geography: China
Date: late 7th-8th Century
Period: Tang Dynasty
24 x 10 x 7 cm
Object number: 970.349
On view
Gallery Location:Matthews Family Court of Chinese Sculpture
DescriptionA Bodhisattva has conceived the Thought of Enlightenment, which is the first step towards Nirvana, but postpones his own Nirvana indefinitely in order to help others on the way. In contrast to Buddhas, who only wear a simple monk's habit, Bodhisattvas are richly dressed and wear jewelry. There are many different bodhisattvas, but Avalokiteshvara (Guanyin in Chinese) was the most popular. He is usually depicted with a small image of Amitabha Buddha in his crown. Among his many shapes are the eleven-headed and thousand-armed Avalokiteshvara. In China, Guanyin started to be rendered as a female rather than a male deity from the Song dynasty (960-1279) on.
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