Goddess of Mercy, Women, Children and Seafarer

The Chinese name GuanYin (观音) is short for GuanShiYin (观世音). GuanShiYin is 'the one who perceives the calls of the world', i.e. the calls of those who need his help. GuānYīn is a Chinese translation of the term 'Avalokiteśvara' borrowed from Sanskrit, which refers to the Mahāyāna-Bodhisattva of the same name. A 'Bodhisattva' (Chinese 'PuSa' 菩萨) is every person who is on the way to Buddhahood.

Buddhists believe that when someone leaves this world, GuanYin puts them in the heart of a lotus and then sends them to the 'Western Pure Land' (Sukhāvatī). The lotus flower is a symbol of purity. GuanYin is therefore often shown floating on lotus flowers. The corresponding sutra is the lotus sutra. There are sung interpretations of all performers from art and music famous in Asia, such as Andy LAU, Imee OOI, but also
Tina TURNER). A sutra is an often recited or sung Buddhist text (mantra as a chant). Lotus flowers are often depicted on traditional Chinese captivating dragons, and are a direct allusion to those with the concept of 'spiritual purity' as religious content.

Representations of Buddha in his manifestation as 'GuanYin' are often carried out in a feminized form. In popular belief, GuanYin is therefore also perceived as a female being. With her mild acting and miraculous powers, she is considered a symbol of grace and a patron saint of women and children. It is therefore not surprising that GuanYin is also portrayed with children playing who fly kites.

The HongLuoSi Temple in BeiJing, is mainly dedicated to GuanYin. The temple is a bit outside of the city, in a beautiful mountain park. On the way to the summit you can walk through a smaller temple building, where you may find a large wall painting. GuanYin is here to be seen with lots of children, some of them flying kites.The way down from the mountain is lined with many small GuanYin shrines.The way down from the mountain is lined with many small GuanYin shrines.

GuanYin ('Goddess' of Mercy) with children playing
(Goldfish kite, bird kite, Malay kite)
HongLuoSi Temple. BeiJing 2010

ShanDong, WeiFang, QingZhou 2008
Entrance Door Gate
Located in the small town of QingZhou in the west of WeiFang County is the Cloud Gate Mountain (YunMen Shan, 云门 山). Today, the mountain is a landscape park, a geo park and historical park of national importance. The ridge of the formerly called 'Camel Mountain' (TuoShan, 驼 山) has a summit height of 421m. The mountain has Daoist shrines, Buddhist grottoes and larger-than-life stone calligraphies. The temple complex has already been documented in the era of the 'Northern and Southern Dynasties' (420 AD).

ShanDong, WeiFang, QingZhou 2008
View of the plains stretching towards WeiFang
The 'Heavenly Emperor Temple' (HaoTian Gong 昊天 宫) is on top of YunMenShan. It's 'Jade Emperor's Temple' (YuHuang Gong, 玉 皇宫) also houses the hall of the 'Celestial Jade Fairies' (TianXian YuNvCi, 天仙 玉女 祠). This is where the 'Seven Celestial Fairies' ascended to heaven. The hall shows a wall painting of the main 'Celestial Jade Fairy' with children playing kites, and a second wall painting with children playing other kinds of games. Both wall paintings are designed in the tradition of 'BaiZiTu'. Each painting shows 50 playing children.

YunMenShan, Hall of 'Celestial Jade Fairy' (TianXian YuNvCi, 天仙 玉女 祠)
Click picture for the additional 50 children

The 'Celestial Jade Fairy' corresponds to 'GuanYin' in the pictorial representation, as the two photos demonstrate very nicely. The mixture of mixture of Daoist (Celestial Jade Fairy) and Buddhist ideas (GuanYin) can often be found in popular belief.

GuanYin with Child          
                Celestial Jade Fairy with Child

The first Daoist ideas developed roughly at nearly the same time in the early days of Chinese Buddhism. Often, no great differences were made between the two religious ideas and rites. This also applies to popular belief in Japan, where many syncretistic borrowings from Shintoism were also made part of the early Japanese Buddhism.

The concept of showing a Celestial Being as a 'Mother with Infant', demonstrating compassion,
and miraculous powers, also considering a symbol of grace and a patron saint of women and children, seems to be quite universial.(cp. Raphaels 'Sistine Mother Mary'  from 1512, or 'Our Lady of China' from 1997 in the North Cathedral of BeiJing), which has even made it onto a postage stamp in 2022.


Sehen Sie sich auch die Drachen in der Internet-Drachen-Ausstellung an, oder schauen Sie doch bei uns auf dem nächsten Drachenfest vorbei (ein Mausklick zeigt Ihnen, wo wir demnächst zu treffen sind)!

Wir sind jedes Jahr auf  Drachen-Reisen in China und erleben Sie China und Drachen-Fliegen am Original-Schauplatz. Auf den grossen Drachen-Olympiaden Chinas sind wir gern gesehene Gaeste.

Gegen Ende April finden die groessten Drachenfeste auf unserem Globus statt. Die Drachenreisen fuehren uns beispielsweise nach WeiFang (Mitte/Ende April) oder QingDao und GuiYang  (Ende April/Anfang Mai) und  ShenZhen, HongKong und GuangZhou (Oktober). Peking ist natuerlich auch immer dabei, schliesslich wollen wir jedesmal auch auf dem Platz des Himmlischen Friedens oder beim Himmels-Tempel und auf der Chinesischen Mauer unsere Drachen steigen lassen.
Take a look at the kites at our Internet Kite Exhibition, or meet us at the next kite festival (a mouse click will show you where to meet soon)!

Every year we arrange kite festival trips to China. Just experience China and kite flying at the original venue. We are always welcome at the big Kite Olympics in China.

Towards the end of April, the largest kite festivals on the Globe take place. The kite trips take us to WeiFang (middle / end of April) or QingDao and GuiYang (end of April / beginning of May) and ShenZhen, HongKong and GuangZhou (October). Of course, Beijing is always an option to go. After all, we want to fly our kites on Tiananmen Square or at the Temple of Heaven and on the Great Wall of China.

 Copyright 2020 ff: Hans P. Boehme