Guanyin, Bodhisattva of Compassion

Guanyin, Bodhisattva of Compassion depicts an enlightened being who could have entered nirvana but instead chose to help mortals attain enlightenment. Few other sculptures like it exist: it was made in the 12th century and is made of wood. Nancy Berliner, Wu Tung Senior Curator of Chinese Art, explains additional qualities that make this example unique, including the figure's relaxed and welcoming posture, which in Chinese is called “the pose of royal ease.”