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Seated Guanyin

A work made of paulownia wood with polychromy and gilding.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of paulownia wood with polychromy and gilding.


Song dynasty (960–1279)



About this artwork

Guanyin is the Bodhisattva of Compassion, one of the most beloved Chinese Buddhist deities. He can be identified by the small figure of Amituo (Amitabha), Buddha of the Western Paradise, in his headdress. His pose—seated with one leg hanging and his right arm resting on the other knee—further distinguishes him as Guanyin of the Southern Sea, a reference to the deity’s island home. The figure’s gentle expression makes an emotional appeal to the viewer, which is typical of Chinese sculpture from the Song dynasty (960–1279). The carving was originally painted with intricately patterned robes and traces of color are still visible on his back. Later—probably during the Ming dynasty (1368–1644)—the wood was covered entirely with gold.


On View, Gallery 101


Seated Guanyin


China (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 960 CE–1279


Paulownia wood with polychromy and gilding


158.0 x 97.8 cm (H: 62 1/4 x W: 38 1/2 in)

Credit Line

Lucy Maud Buckingham Collection

Reference Number


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