A Ming Pottery Glazed Figure of Guanyin c.1600 -1640

A Ming pottery figure of a seated Guanyin, late Ming dynasty c.1600-1640. Guanyin is shown with an acolyte either side of her thrown, this rests on a base modelled with waves. As is the case with this type of Ming pottery figure there are areas left unglazed, these would have been ‘cold-painted’ the figure is part decorated with coloured lead-glazes as one finds on Ming Fahua pottery . The unglazed pottery on the back of this Ming figure has a dark patina due to it spending a long time next to incense smoke, the figure would have been used at a family shrine or temple.


The head has been broken off at the neck and skilfully restored.
Height 26.9 cm (10 1/2 inches)
Stock number



Guanyin :
Figures of Guanyin are by far the most common of all Blanc de Chine figures and indeed one of the most common images in Chinese figurative art. Guanyin was the Goddess of mercy, She was especially revered in the area where this figure was produced ; Dehua in Fujian Province. But her origins stem from Tibetan Buddhism, she was originally the patron saint of Tibetan Buddhism `Avalokitesvara`. Guanyin is actually the shorter form of the name Guan shi yin, which means “one who observes the voices of the world.” True to her name, Guanyin listens to and understands the worries that plague man`s existence. Because of her mercy and generosity, Guanyin is the most-loved of China`s divinities. the one people turn to for assistance in their everyday lives. Guanyin is specially venerated by those who are hoping to have children or those who are about to set out for sea. Guanyin is usually portrayed wearing a white cape. In her right hand, she holds a dish that has holy water. On her head is a crown in the style of the Amitabha-buddha. She is shown meditating in a seated position. Guanyin has been given the same qualities as the Virgin Mary of Catholic theology, which is why she is sometimes portrayed holding a child in her arms. While the worship of Guanyin in could be traced historically from India, she is the star of countless legends and folk tales in China. Guanyin`s home on earth was the Putuo mountains, located on an island on China`s eastern coast to the south of Shanghai. In China, Putuo-shan is one of the most sacred places in Buddhism and the temple dedicated to Guanyin on the mountain is one of the most important pilgrimage site for Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike. Guanyin`s birth is celebrated on the 19th day of February, and her enlightenment is celebrated on the 19th of September. On those days, the pilgrims flock to Putuo mountain.


Fahau Palette :
Fahua is really a colour scheme but it is also referred to as Fahua ware. It is normally either pottery or stoneware with a low fired vitreous glaze often with the highly fluxed colours separated by thin walls of clay in the manner of cloisonné. It was first Made in Shanxi Province during the Yuan Dynasty but later, from the Ming Dynasty, the Jingdezhen Kilns produced a Fahua Glazed Porcelain.