Chinese Northern Wei Brick with Guanyin


A Chinese finely moulded grey rectangular ceramic brick displaying a nimbate figure of Guanyin, dating from the Northern Wei Dynasty period. The standing figure is depicted frontally, wearing a long robe with carved folds to the garment painted in deep red with the insides of the sleeves rendered in light green. She is performing the Abhaya mudra with her raised hand symbolising fearlessness and protection. The other hand is in the Varada mudra symbolising charity, compassion and boon granting. A mudra is a ritualistic pose or gesture which holds a symbolic meaning in Buddhism. Most mudras are performed with hands and fingers but some also involve the whole body. Her hair is styled into a high bun, coloured in black pigment which beautifully contrasts with the green coloured aureola behind her head. Facial features, such as eyes and eyebrows, feature a calm, contemplative expression and are rendered through delicate streaks of black paint, while the lips are painted in bright red. The panel above the figure is decorated with a bright orange draping.

N.B. This item will require additional postage charges after checkout due to weight and size.

Date: 386-534 AD
Period: Northern Wei Dynasty
Condition: Fine condition, some minor chipping to the sides, much of the original pigmentation still visible.


SKU: GL-65 Category: Tags: , ,

It was during the Northern Wei dynasty that Buddhism was introduced to China – an introduction which rooted itself firmly in the cultural fabric of China. Over 30,000 Buddhist images dating from the Northern Wei dynasty have been found to date. Guanyin is the Buddhist bodhisattva associated with compassion. In Buddhism, a bodhisattva is any person who is on the path towards Buddhahood, which is the rank or condition of an “awaken one”, a Buddha. She was first given the appellation of “Goddess of Mercy” or the Mercy Goddess by Jesuit missionaries in China and became associated by some with the Christian Mother Mary figure. The Chinese name Guanyin is short for Guanshiyin, which means “The One Who Perceives the Sounds of the World.” She is still regarded today as one of the most beloved Buddhist divinities.


Weight 4250 g
Dimensions L 16.5 x W 5.3 x H 32.7 cm
Chinese Ideology


Pottery and Porcelain


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