Chinese, Five Dynasties period - Northern Song dynasty
(960 – 1127)
Standing Guanyin (Avalokitesvara)
Gilded copper alloy with traces of pigment
18 x 6½ x 4¾ in
45.72 x 16.51 x 12.07 cm
Arthur and Margaret Glasgow Fund
This rare, remarkable figure is one of the largest and best preserved of its type. The five seated Buddhas on its crown and the lotus bottle in its hand identify this standing figure as Guanyin, bodhisattva of compassion. The notable iconography includes the scene of the death of Buddha (nirvana) on the medallion and the Buddhist triad flanked by two dragons on the lavishly decorated long necklace.
The luxurious style of this figure suggests that it was commissioned by the court or an imperial patron. The iron chaplet at the back may indicate that this hollow statue was once used as a reliquary.