In medieval India, Avalokiteshvara’s legendary island Potalaka represented the ultimate destination for seekers of the bodhisattva. As his worship spread throughout Asia, each country established its own locations for face-to-face encounters with the deity. The scrolls, map, and sculptures in this section relate to several of Avalokiteshvara’s most important pilgrimage sites: the Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple in Lhasa, Tibet; the Saigoku Pilgrimage route in Japan; and Guanyin’s most important center of worship in China, Mount Putuo island. Countless pilgrims seeking worldly and spiritual benefits over millennia have traveled to Avalokiteshvara’s sacred sites.
Nepal, 16th–17th century; ivory; H. 5 1/2 in.; The Newark Museum, Purchase 1973 Wallace M. Scudder Bequest Fund, 73.130, photo: Robert Goodbody, Courtesy of The Newark Museum.
Tibet or China, 17th–18th century; gilded bronze; 15 15/16 x 9 1/2 in.; Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art, 85.04.0160.
Japan, Edo period, 1615–1868; hanging scroll, ink and color on silk; image: 61 7/8 x 33 in., mount: 87 7/8 x 39 1/2 in.; The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, Gift of Daniele Selby ’13, 2014.20.1.
China, Qing period, early 20th century; hand-colored woodblock print; 43 5/16 x 24 7/8 in.; Courtesy of the Division of Anthropology, American Museum of Natural History, ASIA/0578.
Japan, Edo period, 16th–early 17th century; hanging scroll, ink, colors, and gold leaf on paper, 59 x 59 1/2 in.; The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, Pratt Fund and Betsy Mudge Wilson, Class of 1956, Memorial Fund, Purchase, 2004.10.
Japan, 19th century; ink stamps on paper mounted on silk; mounted prints: 36 x 14 5/8 in., overall including brocade and knobs: 58 1/2 x 22 3/4 in.; Private Collection.