this fruitwood carving Quan Yin is gracefully adorned in flowing robes, jeweled
embellishments and celestial scarves; her hair is drawn up into a high chignon
fronted by an Amitabha crown. She is accompanied by Red Boy who is jumping exuberantly
on one foot, his hands held together in prayer and a bright smile on his face.
They appear amongst foaming waves, supported by a water dragon holding a wish
The story goes that red boy was born as a lump of meat which was cut open
with a sword by his father. The child emerged wearing red silk trousers which
glowed with light and a magic golden bracelet on his right wrist. He was an incarnation
of Ling Chu-Tzu, “the Intelligent Pearl” and when he was seven years old he was
already six feet tall. He performed many miraculous deeds and defeated the dragon
king’s son, for which he was shamed by his father. Red Boy responded by cutting
the flesh from his body in remorse until he was reduced to nothing. Seeing the
suffering of Red Boy, Guanyin appeared and covered his remains with lotus leaves,
which revived him and reconstituted his body. From that moment he became a dharmapala,
a fierce protector of the faith.
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