One of the greatest empires in the medieval world, the Tang dynasty (618-906) in China was marked by growth and prosperity, successful diplomatic relationships, and flourishing arts. The Museum’s sculpture is based on a gilded bronze Tang original of a Buddha from the late 7th-early 8th century. The headdress and the pot the Buddha holds in his right hand identify him as the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara (known in Chinese as “Guanyin” or “Kwan Yin”). According to Buddhist thought as it developed in India in the early centuries of the first millennium, bodhisattvas are beings whose level of spiritual development and moral rectitude are sufficient to allow them to become fully enlightened beings and to achieve the Buddhist goal of nirvana. However, unlike Buddhas and motivated by compassion, bodhisattvas delay their own release from involvement in the world to assist all others who are still suffering. Kwan Yin, the bodhisattva of Compassion, is one of the most popular savior figures in East Asia.