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Chinese blanc de chine figure of Guanyin, Kangxi or earlier, seated upon a rock in a variation of the lalitasana mudra (royal position), her bare left foot just visible at the hem of her flowing robes, a scroll in her right hand, prayer beads around her neck and her hair in a high chignon covered with a cowl, looped curls around her ears
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.