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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
High relief carving of Guanyin of Eleven Heads standing on a lotus pedestal set within a recessed niche, which is decorated with two flying celestial beings, or apsaras. In relief within a recess. Color, gray, with gray-brown patina. Limestone.
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
Bunkio Matsuki (1867-1940), Boston, to 1909 [1]

From 1909 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Bunkio 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
Bunkio Matsuki 松木文恭 (C.L. Freer source) (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

As renovation work continues in the Freer Gallery, the Sackler Gallery also will close on July 10, 2017. This museum-wide closure will allow us to completely reinstall our exhibitions and revitalize features to improve your visit. Both spaces will reopen on October 14, 2017, when we will welcome the public back to the Freer|Sackler: two galleries, one destination. For your safety, all visitors will have their bags checked. See the complete list of restricted items and bag sizes.