Copyright Anna Reid-Taylor 2009.
.All rights reserved.
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She is known in China as Quan Yin (or Kuan Yin) and in Nepal and Tibet as Tara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion. She has been depicted and worshipped through the ages in a myriad of forms. From the simple shrines of peasants and fisherfolk, to exquisite paintings found in the Tun Huang caves of the T'ang Dynasty (6-9th c.), she is portrayed in a variety of poses.
Sometimes she is portrayed as a simple, beautiful young maiden riding on the back of a dragon, or sitting regally at Royal Ease gazing impassively from an old wooden statue, gilt cracked and peeling. You can find her covered with the centuries-old patina of incense smoke, or as an exquisite gold image, less than 12” high, with a diminutive child on her lap. She is sometimes depicted in delicately crafted embroideries.
In the west, she has been appreciated more as an artistic depiction of a buddhist deity than as an object of worship and reverence. A friend gave me my first small porcelain Quan Yin statue about 20 years ago dating from the 1930's, and although I had never heard of Quan Yin, it was love at first sight.
Some of the images shown here are from my own small collection, others were found in antique shops; some are well-known statues in museums; a few come from a local buddhist temple. As the Lotus Sutra states “In every corner of the world, She manifests her countless forms.”
NO MATTER HOW SHE IS PORTRAYED, HER MESSAGE IS ALWAYS the embodiment of love and compassion. Known also as "she who hears the cries of the world", that is her promise. As long as there is one sentient being left on earth, and for as long as they call on her, she will never leave them...it is believed she will intercede on behalf of the faithful, and She will perform miracles.
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