Unidentified Artist Chinese, active late 16th century
Ming dynasty (1368–1644)
late 16th century
Hanging scroll; ink, color, and gold on silk
Image: 47 1/2 x 23 3/4 in. (120.7 x 60.3 cm)
Overall with mounting: 85 3/4 x 30 1/2 in. (217.8 x 77.5 cm)
Overall with knobs: 85 3/4 x 33 1/4 in. (217.8 x 84.5 cm)
Purchase, Friends of Asian Art Gifts, 1989
Not on view
A rare example of ecclesiastical painting from the end of the Ming period, this richly colored painting presents Guanyin (Avalokiteshvara in Sanskrit), the Bodhisattva of Infinite Compassion, in a peculiarly Chinese manifestation as the provider of male offspring. Guanyin is seated on a lion (a symbol of royalty in India), descending toward the worshiper on a plume of clouds while holding a baby in his arms. The child is girded by a jewel-encrusted belt and holds an imposing seal, both emblems of high official rank. Below him is the adoring figure of Sudhana, the young boy whose auspicious birth enabled him to set forth immediately on a quest for spiritual enlightenment.
Inscription: No artist’s inscription, signature, or seal
[ Masami Aoi , Tokyo, until 1989; sold to MMA]
Lawrence. Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas. "Latter Days of the Law: Images of Chinese Buddhism, 850–1850," August 28, 1994–October 9, 1994.
Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. "Latter Days of the Law: Images of Chinese Buddhism, 850–1850," November 16, 1994–January 11, 1995.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Traditional Scholarly Values at the End of the Qing Dynasty: The Collection of Weng Tonghe (1830–1904)," June 30, 1998–January 3, 1999.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Millennium of Chinese Painting: Masterpieces from the Permanent Collection," September 8, 2001–January 13, 2002.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Chinese Painting, Masterpieces from the Permanent Collection," August 28, 2004–February 20, 2005.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Secular and Sacred: Scholars, Deities, and Immortals in Chinese Art," September 10, 2005–January 8, 2006.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Arts of the Ming Dynasty: China's Age of Brilliance," January 23, 2009–September 13, 2009.