Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara (Guanyin)

Surface: Gilded; brownish incrustation.
Decoration: details engraved. Inscription.

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Historical period(s)
Northern Wei dynasty, Period of Division, 482
Bronze with gilding
H x W x D: 15.5 × 6.6 × 5.3 cm (6 1/8 × 2 5/8 × 2 1/16 in)
China, Hebei province, Yaoyang
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Metalwork, Sculpture


bodhisattva, Buddhism, China, Guanyin, lettering, lotus, Northern Wei dynasty (386 - 534), Period of Division (220 - 589)

To 1911
Ye Shing Wher, China, to 1911 [1]

From 1911 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Ye Shing Wher in 1911 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] See Original Bronze List, S.I. 286, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Ye Shing Wher (C.L. Freer source)
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919


Surface: Gilded; brownish incrustation.
Decoration: details engraved. Inscription.


Translation: "On the 12th day of the 2nd month in the 6th year of Tai Ho, the Northern Wei dynasty [483 A.D.] Buddhist Liu Yi-tung and his brother Yi Li had this image of Kuan-yin the Goddess of Mercy, made in honor of their aunt."

The inscription reads: "T'ai-ho liu-nien sui jen-hsu erh-yueh shih-erh-jih Yao-yang Hsien Liu I-t'ung I-li hsiung ti erh-jen wei wang po-mu tsao Kuan-shih-yin hsiang i-ch'u ? ? ? ? ta shao ch'ang wu mi-le hui" [Chn]. It can be rendered: "On the 12th day of the 2nd month in the 6th year of T'ai-ho (March 17, 482 A.D.), the cycle of "jen-hsu," the brothers Liu I-t'ung and I-li of Yao-yang Hsien had this image of Kuan-yin made on behalf of their deceased aunt....Buddhist assembly.

"The inscription in part reads: 'Taihe liunian sui renxu eryue shier re Raoyangxian Liu Yitong Yili xiongdi er ren wei wang bomu zao Guanshiyin xiang yiqu...' which can be translated: '[Northern Wei dynasty], Taihe era 6th year, year cycle renxu, 2nd month, 12th day, the two brothers Liu Yitong and Yili, of Raoyang district (present day central Hebei) for the sake of their deceased paternal aunt had this image of Guanshiyin made...'

Published References
  • Chang Qing. Genuine or Forged: Methods of Identifying Forgeries of Chinese Buddhist Sculptures. vol. 36 Washington and Ann Arbor. p. 101, fig. 18.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

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