Image: 72 3/8 × 44 1/8 in. (183.8 × 112.1 cm)
Overall with mounting: 119 7/8 × 54 in. (304.5 × 137.2 cm)
Overall with knobs: 119 7/8 × 58 1/2 in. (304.5 × 148.6 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1918
Not on view
Many East Asian images of White-robed Guanyin (Japanese: Byakue Kannon) depict the bodhisattva in an idyllic setting meant to represent his abode in Potalaka (Japanese: Fudaraku). In this painting, made for a dowager empress in the Wanli era (1573–1615), Guanyin’s paradise is a Chinese palace garden.
Guanyin leans upon an elegant parapet and is backed by a grove of bamboo and a large rock. Lotuses bloom in a pond before the androgynously rendered bodhisattva, suggesting that this is also intended as a representation of the Nine-lotus Guanyin. The youthful visitor at lower left is Sudhana (Japanese: Zenzai dōji), a wealthy boy who, according to the final chapter of the Flower Garland Sutra, visited Guanyin in Potalaka during a long journey to learn the bodhisattva path.
When the Museum started building its collection of East Asian art, it relied on preeminent Japanese art dealer Yamanaka & Co. to negotiate acquisitions, including this rare Ming-dynasty Buddhist work.
Inscription: Artist’s inscription (1 column in standard script)
Made in the guisi year of the Wanli reign era of the great Ming dynasty .
Cisheng Empress Dowager 慈聖皇太后 (mother of the Shenzong Emperor, d. 1614) 慈聖宣文明肅皇太后之寶
Ming emperor Shenzong 明神宗 (r. 1572–1620) 讚曰：惟我聖母，慈仁格天。感斯嘉垂，闕產瑞蓮。加大士像，圖寫流傳。延國福民，齊壤同堅。