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Figure - Bodhisattva


  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Yunnan (made)

  • Date:

    1200-1250 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gilt bronze

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased with Art Fund support, the Vallentin Bequest, Sir Percival David and the Universities China Committee

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    China, Room 44, The T.T. Tsui Gallery, case 59

This gilt bronze piece is a rare and distinctive Buddhist figure made in the Yunnan region of south-west China in a style reflecting influences from India, Tibet, Burma, China and south-east Asia. At the time it was cast, between 1200-1250, Yunnan was an independent kingdom ruled by the Duan family. The figure represents Avalokitesvara (or Guanyin in Chinese), one of the holy beings (or Bodhisattvas) of the Buddhist tradition who has obtained the final enlightenment, but chosen to return to earth to help humanity. The Duan kings believed that an Indian monk of the 7th century, who was said to have introduced Buddhism to the kingdom, was actually the embodiment of the Bodhisattva Guanyin. He took the form of an Indian monk, hence the princely Indian dress of this figure. Images of Bodhisattvas were used in temples and shrines, and were particularly popular among devotees. Guanyin is specifically associated with the virtue of compassion and was considered a tutelary divinity for the royal house.

Physical description

This Bodhisattva is known as Guanyin Acuoye, who was a deity worshipped in the 13th century in Dali Kingdom, in present-day Yunnan province.

Place of Origin

Yunnan (made)


1200-1250 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Gilt bronze


Height: 28.5 cm

Object history note

exhibited in Ghent 1979-80

Descriptive line

Met, China, human figures

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Yetts C115




Casting; Gilding

Subjects depicted

化佛冠; 觀音; 化佛


Metalwork; Buddhism; Religion


East Asia Collection

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