The Human Touch

Making Art | Leaving Traces

Helping hands

This androgynous figure is Kwan Yin (Guanyin), the feminised Chinese version of the Boddhisattva (enlightened being) Avalokiteśvara, emanation of compassion. The figure has six pairs of arms; four of the twelve hands are positioned in the mudras of prayer and meditation, the remainder hold attributes of learning, the book and the stylus.

Unnamed maker
Guanyin
Northeast China
Ming dynasty, probably consecrated c. 1634
Gilt wood, red and black pigment, 58.1 x 40.6 x 23.3 cm
Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge
1960.400

Section: Five

Helping hands
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