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: Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara (Guanyin) with 11 heads

Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara (Guanyin) with 11 heads

Historical period(s)
Tang dynasty, 703
H x W x D: 108.8 x 31.7 x 15.3 cm (42 13/16 x 12 1/2 x 6 in)
China, Shaanxi province, Xi'an, Guangzhai Temple, Qibaotai Pagoda
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
Esoteric (Vahrayana) Buddhism employs rituals and magic spells and features multiheaded and multiarmed deities. This form of Buddhism was popular in China during the Tang dynasty (618–907), when this image of Guanyin, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, was made under imperial patronage. Eleven heads represent the stages of enlightenment. The sensuous sculptural style reflects Indian influence. This sculpture adorned the Seven Jewels Pagoda that was built in the Tang capital (modern day Xi'an).

To 1909
Bunkyo Matsuki (1867-1940), Boston, to 1909 [1]

From 1909 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Bunkyo Matsuki in Japan 1909 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] Undated folder sheet note. See Original Miscellaneous List, S.I. 137, pg. 53, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Former owner
C.L. Freer source: Bunkyo Matsuki 松木文恭 (1867-1940)
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919)
On View Location
Currently not on view
Sculpture, Stone
Buddhism, China, Guanyin, lotus, Tang dynasty (618 - 907)
Collection(s) Area
Chinese Art
Web Resource(s)
Google Cultural Institute

Rights Statement
Copyright with museum

The Freer is closed for renovation and reopening in 2017. The Sackler remains open, with a full lineup of exhibitions and events both in the museum and around DC.