Thursday, 24 March 2011

Artifact Two- Guanyin with Baby Seated on Lion, 17th - 18th centuries

Guanyin with Baby Seated on Lion,
17th - 18th centuries
Gift of Frank and Pamela Hickley

This Guanyin figure is a fertility goddess, Songzi Guan yin or the 'giver of children'. It bears some resemblance to the "Madonna and child" images that were carved in ivory in Fujian for trade with the Spanish during the late Ming period (1368 -1644). The image of Madonna and child was probably a source inspiration for the Dehua depiction of Songzi Guanyin. This piece is relatively small, yet the folds of the robe, the fur of the lion and other intricate details have been carefully rendered. The function of this figure is nothing much but just a religious belief that when you have this figure of Guanyin, a fertility goddess, getting pregnant with a child would be easier in a sense. Modern day figures of god and goddess have better crafting work, features of the goddess or god is clearer and more detailed. Modern day figures also come in different materials such as bronze or even crystals and gold at times. The figures also are commonly used in temples, nowadays very few figures are being placed at home.

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