The Journey

Avalokiteshvara (Guanyin) on a Lotus Leaf and the Pilgrim Sudhana

  • 24
  • China
  • Qing period, 18th century
  • Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk
  • H. 41 3/4 x W. 24 in. (106 x 61 cm)
  • Indianapolis Museum of Art, Gift of Mrs. John Roberts, Jr., 77.315
  • Mount Putuo
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This scene makes reference to a popular Chinese tale that describes the devotion of the pilgrim Sudhana (Shancai in Chinese; pictured as a young boy) and the white parrot to Avalokiteshvara (Guanyin in Chinese). Sudhana was introduced to the Chinese in the Chinese translation of the Gandavyuha Sutra, known as the Huayan Jing. Guanyin with Sudhana as a Chinese boy is a common subject of Chinese painting and sculpture. The rocks and water in this painting identify the deity as Avalokitesh-vara in the South Seas paradise Mount Potalaka, known as Mount Putuo in Chinese. In this painting the figures, landscape elements, composition, and hanging-scroll format all follow Chinese conventions.

PHOTO CREDIT: © Indianapolis Museum of Art

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