Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara in Water Moon Form (Shuiyue Guanyin)
Ming dynasty (1368–1644)
Willow with gesso and traces of pigment; single woodblock construction
Overall (without base): H. 30 1/4 in. (76.8 cm); W. 18 in. (45.7 cm) ; D. 13 1/2 in. (34.3 cm)
Anonymous Gift, in memory of Edward Robinson, 1953
This powerful figure belongs to a small group of wooden sculptures that can be securely dated, owing to an inscription that also provides rare information regarding its production and intended use. The inscription appears on a plate at the back, part of a chamber that once contained consecratory material. Although a portion of the inscription has abraded, rendering it somewhat difficult to read, it states that the sculpture was produced in 1385 under the direction of a certain individual named Xin Zhongwen, who worked with the inhabitants of a Dongan village to sponsor the creation of the piece. In addition, the inscription names the artists Feng Xiaozhong, who is identified as the Woodcarver-in-Attendance, and his son, and goes on to explain that the sculpture was produced for a temple and served as a guardian of a road.
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