Art/ Collection/ Art Object

明洪武十八年 彩繪木雕水月觀音菩薩像(柳木胎)
Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara in Water Moon Form (Shuiyue Guanyin)

Ming dynasty (1368–1644)
dated 1385
Wood (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)
Credit Line:
Anonymous Gift, in memory of Edward Robinson, 1953
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 208
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 the interior surface of a removable panel in the figure’s back that gives access to a chamber that once contained consecratory material. It states that the sculpture was carved in 1385 under the direction of a certain Xin Zhongwen, who, together with members of Dongan village, commissioned the piece. It also names two artists—Feng Xiaozhong, “Woodcarver-in-Attendance,” and his son—and explains that the sculpture was created for a temple and to serve as a guardian of a road.
Inscription: Inscribed the 18th year of the Hongwu era (1385) (inside of back)

Dongancun zhong cun ren deng yu Wei Na Xin Zhongwen deng jin fa qian xin qi gai zhen lu miao yi zuo qing dao ben cun kan mu dai zhao Feng Xiaozhong bing nan Feng beigong xi kan tian yi Guanyin san wei yi tang wei yuan ben cun tong...ji xiang he jia le an...lao yu wu zai Hongwu shi ba nian zheng yue qu jiu ri.

Trans: All the villagers of Dongan together with Xin Zhongwen, and others reverently resolve with earnest hearts to build a one-hall guardian temple of the road - successfully invited this village's woodcarver-in-attendance, Feng Xiaozhong, and his son Feng to undertake the work, skillfully to carve in heavenly robes Guanyin, three figures in one hall. In hope that this village all...lucky and fortunate families in entirety [be] happy and peaceful...old and young without misfortune. Hongwu, the 18th year, 1st month, 9th [?] day. [A date in concordance with February 18, 1385]


Probably Shanxi or Hebei Province

Private Collection , New York (until 1953; donated to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Weber Galleries Reinstallation," October 14, 1998–March 19, 2010.

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