Chinese Buddhist art follows the same guidelines. The statue of Guanyin, Song Dynasty, c. 1100, depicts a deity with an interesting story. Guanyin was a princess who lived in China centuries ago. When Buddhist monks from India came to preach the new religion, they visited the palace, preached the gospels of Buddhism, and were hospitably welcomed by the king and queen. While the parents were not interested in converting, the young princess wanted to learn more. So against her parentís wishes, she snuck out of the house and followed the monks to their monastery where they told her about their faith. Night fell and it was too late for the princess to return home. When the king realized that she had not returned, he sent out a search party which located princess in the monastery. The monks responded that she was not being held against her will and that her return to the palace would be her own decision.


Enraged at this response, the king ordered the return of the princess. When the monks refused again, the king ordered the monastery burned to the ground. His daughter died in the fire. Buddhists praised the virtue of the princess who gave up everything to learn about the religion, and so they made her a goddess. As represented in the sculpture, she sits atop a mountain in the Indian Ocean and watches over mankind. Whenever someone falls into trouble, s/he only needs to invoke the name of Guanyin, and s/he will be saved. She is the principal guardian angel in Chinese Buddhism.

Anatomy: minimal to none, pectorals/breasts(?), knees, asexual or transgendered. Proportion: head large to shoulders, arms narrow, waist very high, stomach round. Mass: hills and valleys give fleshiness to torso, roundness to thighs and knees. Dress or drapery? While the garment conforms to the form of her thighs and knees (anchor points and tension lines), the scarves and sashes fly out of control as if blown by the wind. If we were to compare Guanyin with Botticelliís Venus, the differences are obvious. While both artists favor Neoplatonism, Botticelliís scientific knowledge is clearly reflected in his more solidly constructed figure. Venus stands in our realm, our atmosphere, our frame of reference, while Guanyin does not.