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Avalokitesvara

Avalokitesvara

觀音菩薩

c. 1500

Hanging scroll, ink, gold, silver, color, and cut gold-leaf on silk

Painting: 104.5 x 41.9 cm (41 1/8 x 16 1/2 in.); Overall with knobs: 188.9 x 64.8 cm (74 3/8 x 25 1/2 in.)

Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund 1992.119

Description

Guanyin (Avalokitesvara in Sanskrit) represents a primary figure of benevolence and compassion in the Buddhist pantheon. Identified early in Buddhist texts as a close attendant to the Buddha, by the 700s Guanyin’s popularity soared to such an extent in China, Korea, and Japan that the bodhisattva was often worshipped independently. Here at the lower left, Guanyin is depicted with the child Sudhana, a wealthy boy who, according to the final chapter of the Flower Garland Sutra, visited Guanyin’s abode Potalaka during a long journey to learn the bodhisattva path.

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