Porcelain with white glaze, Dehua ware
Overall: 45.2 cm (17 13/16 in.)
The Norweb Collection 1950.579
When Marco Polo visited China in the late 1200s, he was so impressed by the Dehua kilns that he included lengthy descriptions of ceramic production in his chronicle of his journey.
Guanyin, the Buddhist bodhisattva of infinite compassion (Avalokiteshvara in Sanskrit), is the most revered enlightened being in East Asia. The bodhisattva perceives all beings in need of help and reveals himself in many forms. Here, his elaborate lotus pedestal rests on the crest of surging waves, identifying him as Guanyin of the South Seas. The Dehua kilns in Fujian province in southern China produced white porcelain figures for both the domestic and export markets. In China, such a figure may have furnished a house altar or a temple.
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