I got a halo 'round me...
February 27, 2011 11:16 AM   Subscribe

A quick one for a friend: which goddess is this?

My friend just picked up this picture and is trying to figure out who's in it. I think it's Indian and/or Hindu, but honestly have no idea. Thanks, hive mind!
posted by Schlimmbesserung to Media & Arts (9 answers total)
The features, the pose, the closed eyes.. make it unlikely that this is a Hindu/Indian goddess. It could be an artist's take on some goddess (Lakshmi and Saraswati would be the most likely Hindu candidates), but there is nothing obvious to suggest which one it is.
posted by vidur at 11:29 AM on February 27, 2011

Looks like Kuan Yin, aka Kannon, Guanyin, 觀音. Not really a goddess, or even a diety, but a bodhisattva or "enlightened being with a wish to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings."

No idea where the print is from, but it could be from China. It looks like a stylized reproduction you might buy in a shop in the funky part of town that sells Tibetan goods and Guatemalan shirts.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:34 AM on February 27, 2011 [3 favorites]

I think it is Guanyin, because she sits on a lotus.
posted by Houstonian at 11:37 AM on February 27, 2011

KokuRyu, I'd wager that that's exactly where my friend got it. T'ain't an antique.

On reflection, I only guessed Hindu because the halo of fire looks reminiscent of the one around Shiva/Nataraja.
posted by Schlimmbesserung at 11:40 AM on February 27, 2011

I think it's red tara, a Buddhist goddess. Associated with attracting good things.

A close-ish image? Is it just me?

Sorry for the long link, am typing on a phone.
posted by crankyrogalsky at 11:42 AM on February 27, 2011

On reflection, I only guessed Hindu because the halo of fire looks reminiscent of the one around Shiva/Nataraja.

A lot of Buddhist iconography has its roots in Hinduism. Being a syncretic religion, Buddhism also incorporates a lot of local customs and practices, etc.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:04 PM on February 27, 2011

The figure appears to be in the royal ease posture, which does suggest a boddhisatva, along with the lotus throne. Posting a better picture would help narrow it down- there are attributes (particular mudras, items) that signpost which bodhisattva is being depicted. (For instance, what's the left hand doing?)
posted by zamboni at 12:36 PM on February 27, 2011

Here's a better picture in case anybody's still playing.
posted by Schlimmbesserung at 1:23 PM on February 27, 2011

Thirding that it's probably the bodhisattva Guanyin (or Kuan Yin). Here's a very similar sculpture.
posted by devotion+doubt at 4:17 PM on March 2, 2011

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