Date Made/Found: around 1850
Material and Medium: Ivory
Dimensions: Overall: 300 x 150 x 130mm (11 13/16 x 5 7/8 x 5 1/8in.)
Department: Decorative Art
Accession Number: 2007.237
This carved head represents the goddess Guanyin in the form of a Bodhisattva.
In Buddhism the Bodhisattvas are figures who attained enlightenment, and instead of going on to a state of paradise bliss, decided to stay in the world to help human beings.
Bodhisattvas are shown dressed in princely robes with crowns and jewellery. This fgure wears a silk robe, earrings and a necklace, and has a tall crown in which sits a carving of the Bodhisattva, Maitreya, who is a teacher and represents the future hope of the world. In the centre of the Bodhisattva’s forehead is a raised dot, the Urna. It radiates wisdom and symbolises a third eye with the power to emit a beam of light and illuminate the world.
The Bodhisattvas are loved by worshippers because they chose to help human beings. Guanyin is China’s favourite: the name means 'one who listens and pays attention to the cries of the world'.Display Location: