Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Ashmolean − Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

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Dehua ware figure of the bodhisattva Guanyin

  • loan

Glossary (2)

glaze, porcelain

  • glaze

    Vitreous coating applied to the surface of a ceramic to make it impermeable or for decorative effect.

  • porcelain

    Ceramic material composed of kaolin, quartz, and feldspar which is fired to a temperature of c.1350-1400⁰c. The resulting ceramic is vitreous, translucent, and white in colour.


    • currently in research collection

Objects are sometimes moved to a different location. Our object location data is usually updated on a monthly basis. Contact the Jameel Study Centre if you are planning to visit the museum to see a particular object on display, or would like to arrange an appointment to see an object in our reserve collections.


Publications online

  • The Barlow Collection by the University of Sussex

    The Barlow Collection

    Bodhisattvas are enlightened beings in Buddhism, who have postponed their reach of Buddhahood in order to alleviate the suffering of others. Avalokitesvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, is in China also known as Guanyin and represented as female, often holding a child, and thus resembling the figure of Maria.

    Guanyin is here shown seated on the ground, the head turned to the right, the body twisted with the left shoulder turned back, the right knee resting on the ground and the foot tucked under, the left knee raised, supporting the left hand, and the naked foot placed on the ground, emerging from voluminous robes. The face is delicately modelled with fine features and a small protuberance (ūrņā) on the forehead, the hair combed back in thick strands, adorned with a diadem with a central Amitabha figure seated on a lotus throne and with a mandorla, flanked by cloud scrolls, the high chignon mostly hidden under a loosely draped scarf that falls down over her shoulders. The right hand is holding a scroll, and both arms are adorned with bracelets. The lavish outer garment envelopes the Bodhisattva in rich folds, revealing an undergarment at the chest and legs. The hollow underside shows firing cracks and shows that the head was separately made and plugged in. The white porcelain body is covered with a very fine creamy ivory-tinged glaze, which also covers the inside but leaves the flat underside free.

    The ūrņā is a small curl between the eyebrows emitting light.

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