Eleven-headed Kwanum of Sokkuram


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Eleven-headed Kwanum of Sokkuram


(Kwanseum) Boddhisattva

Directly behind the main statue, on one panel of the rotunda wall, is a finely executed carving of Kwanum (Kwanseum) Boddhisattva, the Boddhisattva of Mercy. As is common in East Asia, the figure is depicted as a woman, even though Kwanum (Avalokitesvara) Boddhisattva is technically neither male nor female. The clothing is executed in exquisite detail, with the figure's right hand holding a garment cord between thumb and forefinger, while the left hand holds a bottle or vase from which protrudes a flower. What is most striking, however, is the headdress the figure wears, with eleven heads arranged symetrically in rows of seven, three, and one, symbolizing Buddhist wisdom. The statue as a whole is 2.2 meters high.

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