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19. Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy (81)
Excavated at the Tem Thousand Buddha Pagoda in Hunhua county,
Zhejiang Province, in 1958

Five Dynasties, 907 - 960 CE
Gilt bronze
total height 77.7 cm

Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy (81)

Buddhism arrived in China in the first century CE from India, transmitted along the trade routes by Buddhist traders.

When pagodas were erected, Buddhist relics were usually buried in their foundations, and many treasures have been discovered during the restoration or demolition of pagodas. This Buddhist gilt bronze sculpture was found in a pagoda. It depicts the bodhisattva Guanyin, the goddess of mercy, seated on a rock in the pose called "royal ease," a beautifully wrought halo framing her elegant figure.

National Museum of Chinese History, Beijing

Detail: close up

Detail: base

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