A fired brown clay figure of Guan Yin
Late Song-early Yuan dynasty, 13th century, China
Height: 31 cm, 12.2 inches
The Bodhisattva is seated in maharajalila asana, or Royal ease, on a rush mat placed upon a rocky outcrop. The right arm rests loosely on the raised knee, the other hand is placed on the ground with straight arm supporting the posture, the head held erect with down cast eyes, the hair combed up into a high chignon and screened at the front by an elaborate crown centred with a figure of Buddha. Guan Yin is dressed in a two layered skirt tied high above the waist, with beaded jewellery falling in strands from below each knee, the bare torso adorned with an elaborate necklace, the shoulders covered by a scarf that falls rhythmically to the ground on each side of the figure, platted braids of hair tied into tripartite bows rest on each shoulder. Behind the figure, a hollow support would most likely have taken a second section that formed the cave canopy under which Guan Yin is meditating.