Celestial Blessings Guan Yin Figurine
From about the 5th century, when Buddhism gained acceptance, to the 12th century, Chinese portrayals of the bodhisattva Guan Yin were often androgynous, influenced by the Indian antecedent Avalokitesvara, as according to the Lotus Sutra, the bodhisattva could transcend the limitations of physical form to relieve suffering.
Xu Xiao Yong’s sculpture embraces this ancient form, adopting a canonical pose of divine iconography often associated with Guan Yin. Seated in the languid posture of Royal Ease, the figure is sumptuously robed and accessorised, the hair arranged in an elaborate topknot. A lotus bud, representing peace, purity and harmony, emerges. The beguiling smile and benevolent downcast gaze add to the meditative, almost casual mood.
Known as the Goddess of Mercy in English, Guan Yin is revered throughout East Asia as the embodiment of infinite compassion. The name Guan Yin 观音, meaning ‘one who perceives sounds’, is itself an abbreviation of Guanshiyin 观世音 ‘one who perceives the sounds of the world’ i.e. one who hears the world’s cries for help.
About the collection
Celestial Blessings by Xu Xiao Yong commemorates the mythologies and deities of Chinese culture. Lauded as one of China’s top sculptors, Xu is the recipient of numerous arts-related awards and serves as a member of the United Nations Arts Initiative.