Rare Gilt Bronze Suryabraha
A Rare Gilt-Bronze Figure of Suryabraha with Sun Disk.
Seated in vajrasana on a shaped base, both hands supporting a sun disk incised with a character, wearing various garments including a wide-sleeved mantle, its border incised with scrolling tendrils, bejeweled, his face displaying a serene expression with downcast eyes below arched eyebrows running into his nose-bridge, his hair combed in a chignon and secured with a tiara cast with a minute figure of Buddha Shakyamuni to the front.
China, 17th century, Ming dynasty
Height: 26,5 cm
Provenance: Old South German private collection, assembled before 2007
Traces of age, minor wear, slightly chipped
Guanyin, Guan Yin or Kuan Yin (/ˌɡwɑːnˈjɪn/) is the most commonly used Chinese translation of the bodhisattva known as Avalokiteśvara. Guanyin is the Buddhist bodhisattva associated with compassion. In the East Asian world, Guanyin is the equivalent term for Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva. Guanyin also refers to the bodhisattva as adopted by other Eastern religions. She was first given the appellation of “goddess of Mercy” or the Mercy goddess by Jesuit missionaries in China. The Chinese name Guanyin is short for Guanshiyin, which means “[The One Who] Perceives the Sounds of the World.” On the 19th day of the 6th lunar month, Guan Shi Yin’s attainment of Buddhahood is celebrated.
Some Buddhists believe that when one of their adherents departs from this world, they are placed by Guanyin in the heart of a lotus, and then sent to the western Pure Land of Sukhāvatī. Guanyin is often referred to as the “most widely beloved Buddhist Divinity” with miraculous powers to assist all those who pray to her, as is said in the Lotus Sutra and Karandavyuha Sutra.
Several large temples in East Asia are dedicated to Guanyin including Mount Putuo, Shaolin Temple, Longxing Temple, Puning Temple, Nanhai Guanyin Temple, Dharma Drum Mountain, Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple, Shitennō-ji, Sensō-ji, Kiyomizu-dera, Sanjūsangen-dō, and many others. Guanyin’s abode and bodhimanda in India is recorded as being on Mount Potalaka. With the localization of the belief in Guanyin, each area adopted their own Potalaka. In China, Putuoshan is considered the bodhimanda of Guanyin. Naksansa is considered to be the Potalaka of Guanyin in Korea. Japan’s Potalaka is located at Fudarakusan-ji. Tibet’s Potalaka is the Potala Palace. There are several pilgrimage centers for Guanyin in East Asia. Putuoshan is the main pilgrimage site in China. There is a 33 temple Guanyin pilgrimage in Korea which includes Naksansa. In Japan, there are several pilgrimages associated with Guanyin. The oldest one of them is the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage, a pilgrimage through 33 temples with Guanyin shrines. Guanyin is beloved by all Buddhist traditions in a non-denominational way and found in most Tibetan temples under the name Chenrezig. Guanyin is also beloved and worshipped in the temples in Nepal. The Hiranya Varna Mahavihar located in Patan is one example. Guanyin is also found in some influential Theravada temples such as Gangaramaya, Kelaniya and Natha Devale nearby Sri Dalada Maligawa in Sri Lanka; Guanyin can also be found in Thailand’s Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Wat Huay Pla Kang (where the huge statue of her is often mistakenly called the “Big Buddha”) and Burma’s Shwedagon Pagoda. Statues of Guanyin are a widely depicted subject of Asian art and found in the Asian art sections of most museums in the world.
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