Seated figure, resting PR elbow on raised PR knee, PL leg bent and on ground and PL arm behind, hand resting on ground; wearing bracelets, long necklaces and elaborate crown

Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva in the Water-Moon Form (Shuiyue Guanyin), 12th century

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Of the many manifestations of the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, perhaps none was more prevalent in East Asia than the uniquely Chinese form known as “Water-Moon Avalokiteshvara,” which later also spread to Korea and Japan. This form of the bodhisattva presides over his own paradise, Potolaka, which is described in scripture as a rugged seaside cave from which Avalokiteshvara could admire the reflection of the moon in the water. Appropriately, he appears meditative and relaxed and is seated informally in the “royal-ease” posture. Ornately dressed, with silk robes, fluttering sashes, jewelry, and an elaborate hairstyle, he also wears a headpiece that features an image of Amitābha, the buddha to whom Avalokiteshvara attends. Believers might look to a sculpture like this as a guide for their own journeys toward enlightenment.

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Title
Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva in the Water-Moon Form (Shuiyue Guanyin)
Role
Artist
Accession Number
99.24.2
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Seated figure, resting PR elbow on raised PR knee, PL leg bent and on ground and PL arm behind, hand resting on ground; wearing bracelets, long necklaces and elaborate crown