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White Glazed Guanyin Figure with inscription of “He Chaozong” Made by Dehua Kiln

Ming Dynasty (1368—1644 AD)

Height: 26.3cm; Diameter at Bottom: 6.3cm

Guanyin, the bodhisattva of infinite compassion and mercy in Mahayana Buddhism, is known as Avalokitesvara outside China. After his worship was introduced into China, Avalokitesvara was gradually presented as a female deity. With all the details such as facial expression, hairline, clothes folds, decorations etc. exquisitely depicted, this statue of Guanyin is extremely crafted and lifelike.

It is a masterpiece of the famous porcelain sculptor He Chaozong who lived during the Ming Dynasty. The kiln that produced it is located in a mountain area in Dehua County, Fujian Province where soft clay suitable for sculpture is abundant. The characteristic product of the Dehua kiln is the lard-white porcelain known to the West as blanc de chine, which has the appearance of milk jelly.

He Chaozong, a native of Dehua, used to make Buddhist and Taoist images for temples in the early years of his career as a sculptor. Through long years of practice, he developed a unique style of his own in figure sculpture. His art of porcelain sculpture reached its acme during the Wanli period (1573-1620) of the Ming Dynasty. His figures of Buddhist deities, particularly the Buddhist goddess Guanyin, have been highly prized and much sought after in China and abroad. His works can be found in museums in Southeast Asian countries, the United States, Britain, France, Japan and Hong Kong.

This white Buddha figure, the most famous, represented the highest firing technique of Dehua kiln at that time. With a refined design and an elegant touch, the white porcelain of Dehua kiln became a representative genre of Chinese porcelain industry in that period and was reputed as the Bright Pearl of Porcelain in the World.

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