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Wednesday, November 5th, 2014
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Guan Yin — 观音 or More Traditionally, 觀音

When we built one of the last remaining spaces in the lofts last year, I saw to it that a niche was created for this antique statue of Guan Yin. Like most things in our home I'm responsible for, the space was of the proper size, basically business-like and functional, and that's about all you could say for it. I figured it would get its character from its eventual occupant.

Well, Deb took one look at the initial work and told me, "You'll have to wait until I can make the space suit the statue." So I did. As with everything else she's done around here, it was worth the wait. She got this done quite literally while I wasn't looking, my head buried in some technical project I was tearing my hair out over down in my office, then when we went up to bed, the lights were out so the other loft was shrouded in darkness.

I got my first look at the finished work this morning when I woke up, sat up on the side of our bed, and found myself looking right at it across in the opposite loft, beautifully illuminated by early morning beams of sun streaming in through our stained glass windows. That was quite a moment for me, I have to tell you. 😊

She created the detailing out of a miniature Chinese screen and various sections of trim we had down in the shop, painted the space several coats of red, the framing components black, and then she applied gold across their raised surfaces. But to describe it that way just doesn't do the thing justice.

As soon as I had a decent break today, I set up the 6D with the 24mm L lens, adjusted some lighting, and shot this sans flash. Tonight we'll definitely be heading out to dinner at our friend's Chinese restaurant; it'll be great fun to show them this!

Guan Yin, or Guanyin, is an east asian goddess of mercy, 观音 or 觀音 in traditional Chinese, the literal translation of which reads left to right as "lamentation sound", and would be accurately translated as "sound (of) lamentation." In Chinese mythology, her name is taken more broadly to mean "She who listens to the sounds (suffering) of the world." Taoists consider her immortal, and Buddhists adopted her to represent bodhisattva Avalokite. Or perhaps the Chinese are the ones who adopted her — it's all a bit unclear, as the relevant events are deeply shrouded in time. As you might imagine, both are quick to claim ultimate historicity. Woo-woo-ists in modern times have assigned her the role of protector of women, which actually seems reasonable, depending on how you look at the idea.

I get a huge kick out of that statue sightlessly, endlessly appearing to peer out over our admittedly eclectic living space. Were she real, she'd probably be slapping her forehead instead of gesturing peacefully. Though I have to say that the idea that she'd be looking out for Deb is quite appealing to me.

As I alluded to above, the statue quite old — centuries. The creamy patina on the surface is really lovely and although the surface does show handling wear in places, it's overall in excellent condition, considering its age. It's great having the statue out right where it can be touched... though I suppose that's not such a hot idea to actually follow through on. The ability to get right up close and look at the incredible workmanship is nice, too.

Now it's time to get a few sticks of incense!

#art #chinese #superstition


Width: 1365
Height: 2048
Company:  Canon
Camera:  Canon EOS 6D
Shot On:  2014:11:05 15:58:24
Lens Model:  EF24mm ƒ/1.4L II USM
Aperture:  ƒ/2.8
Focal Length:  24.0mm
Metering Mode:  Spot
Exposure Mode:  Auto
Flash:  Did Not Fire
Exposure Time:  1/80th second
Exposure Program:  Aperture Priority
ISO:  800

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