Guan Yin is the female avatar of the Buddhist Bodhisattva Avalokitsevara, one of the most popular Buddhist ‘saints’. In India this Bodhisattva was male. When Buddhism arrived in China the same Bodhisattva became female, or Guan Yin, goddess of mercy and compassion. The figure is made of multiple blocks of wood, gessoed and finally polychromed, traces of which remain. In the back of the figure is a square hole into which offerings would have been placed.

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