VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Guanin Cundi
MT-DW-11
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

It presents an image of the eighteen-hand Bodhisattva sitting in a position of padmasana which means lotus flower. It is hard to say, whether it is it a figure of a man or a woman, because of the revealed chest, as well asa round face. On the forehead of the bronze sculpture, between the eyebrows, there is a sign of predestination to obtain Awakening, so-called a “divine” or a “third eye”. The Guanin head decorates a crown, and long petals of round earrings. Her arms and hands are covered in a wrinkled material and a thin scarf, while her legs are covered with wide trousers or dothi. Beads of pearls hang from the neck and rest on the chest. Her eighteen arms with the original two hands form the Root Mudra. The Goodness holds different implements, in a clockwise direction: a wish-fulfilling banner, a lotus flower, a bathing vase, a lasso, a conch, an eight-spoke wheel, a precious vase, a head-dress, a wisdom chest, a hook, a sceptre, an axe, mala beads, a heavenly fruit, the Fearless Mudra and a wisdom sword.

History of the Object
The image of Bodhisattva of Mercy, called Guanin in China, sacrificed himself to save others and concentrate all his efforts to create good things. In Indian Buddhism there is only a male goodness – Avalokiteśwara. In China, in the beginning Avalokiteśwara was known also as a man, as a proven from 8th and 9th century iconographic presentations of Chinese Awalokiteśwara with mousetaches. Although, about the 8th century, the Bodhisattva Guanin was presented more often as a woman – “who listens to the voices of the world”. In a new female shape Avalokiteśwara started to be more and more popular in China. It was believed that it could appease sorrow, console, and forgive sins, as well as take care of women and children. The sculpture from Torun’s collection presents an esoteric type of Guanin, it means – Cundi, who was quite popular in the Ming dynasty. It has a religious character and was created for display in a temple. Unfortunately, there is no information about the place where the sculpture was made, or about the artist.

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Type
Sculpture 
Materials
Bronze, cast, engraving, polychrome, gild 
Measurements
23x 21,7 x 12 cm 
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
China 
Geography
China 
Time period
AD 14th century ~ AD 17th century 
Creation date
14th Century - 17th Century; Ming Dynasty 1368 – 1661 
Function
Religious 
Acquisition
This is a gift from Tadusz Wierzejski (1892 – 1974) in 1966 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
District Museum, Torun 
Museum
District Museum, Torun 
Credit line
 

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