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Chinese blanc de Chine figure of Guanyin, Kangxi (1662-1722), seated in a variation of the lalitasana mudra (royal position), her bare foot just visible at the hem of her flowing robes, with a scroll in her right hand, lotus jewel around her neck and elongated ear lobes, her hair arranged in a tall chignon covered with a cowl
End of fingers missing to left hand, shallow chips to ends of robes, small chip to headdress, firing fault to left side of body.
A similar figure is illustrated in Ayers, John, 'Chinese and Japanese Works of Art in the Collection of her Majesty the Queen', p. 55, pl. 58.
The lalitasana pose originated in Indian art and is used to emphasise the regal nature of kings and queens. It is typical in Buddhist sculpture and quickly became adopted in China with the spread of Buddhist teachings. Also originating in India, where she is known as Avalokitesvara, Guanyin represents the mortal Buddha of compassion and mercy. Buddhism probably arrived in China with travelling monks in the first century BC and was widely adopted, with Buddhist figures such as Avalokitesvara being transformed into the Chinese deity Guanyin over the course of centuries. This example was made at the Dehua kilns in the South-Eastern coastal province of Fujian, renowned for their creamy-white, translucent porcelain. Due to the raw materials available in the local area, Dehua porcelain contains high levels of pure china stone, which results in a very hard and sugary body particularly suited to the production of moulded figures.