In sculpting this outstanding edition of Guan Yin, Xu Xiao Yong looks to the deity’s most iconic interpretation in the Chinese tradition, that of a compassionate, motherly figure, her gaze cast benignly downward as she watches over the world. Guan Yin’s 24K gilded halo, encircled by a fiery nimbus, symbolises spiritual enlightenment. Radiating truth, sanctity and purity of heart, its energy banishes despair as surely as light banishes darkness. An ornate crown, set with Buddha’s image and representing his wisdom, surrounds the bodhisattva’s elaborately dressed topknot. Robed in flowing drapery, and garlanded with opulent jewels, she holds a flask of lustral water in one hand, and in the other, a spray of willow with which to scatter the divine liquid, relieving suffering and redeeming the soul in doing so. From radiant halo to lotus blossom dais, Master Xu’s beguiling sculpture combines subtle nuance and exquisite detail, meticulously reproduced in fine pewter surmounting a merbau base. Known as the Goddess of Mercy in English, Guan Yin is revered throughout East Asia as the embodiment of infinite compassion. The name Guan Yin 观音, meaning ‘one who perceives sounds’, is itself an abbreviation of Guanshiyin 观世音 ‘one who perceives the sounds of the world’ i.e. one who hears the world’s cries for help.