Finely carved amber Guanyin. This Baltic beauty is hand carved in Bali, Indonesia.
Dimensions: (48.8 mm/1.92″ – tall) x (21.3 mm/.84″ – wide) x (20 mm /.79″ – thick (base))
Weight: 7.2 grams
Revered by ancient sun worshippers for its golden radiance, amber is a fossilized resin that flowed from prehistoric trees. While the oldest amber dates back 320 million years (discovered in 2009 in an Illinois coal mine), the vast majority of amber is much younger (90 to 20 million years old). It often has fossil inclusions of materials that were trapped when the amber was fluid, usually plant matter, but occasionally, perfectly preserved insects. Amber has strong static electrical properties and emits a pleasant pine scent when burned. Throughout history, amber has been a symbol of courage and immortality, and inspired the fabled drink of the immortals, “ambrosia”. Much folklore exists around its “powers” through the ages. Before modern medicine, amber was commonly worn as a necklace or charm, or carried around in a small pouch, as a remedy against gout, rheumatism, sore throats, toothaches, and stomachaches. Some even believed it had magical powers to ward off witches!
Baltic amber (or Succinite) dates from 44 million years ago (during the Eocene epoch). The main deposits of Baltic amber are on the southern shores of the Baltic Sea. Today, more than 90% of the world’s amber comes from Kaliningrad Oblast of Russia.
Guanyin (also known as Guan Yin or Kuan Yin) is the Buddhist bodhisattva (in Buddhism, a bodhisattva is any person who is on the path towards Buddhahood) associated with compassion. She was first given the title of “goddess of mercy” by Jesuit missionaries in China. The Chinese name Guanyin is short for Guanshiyin, which means “[The One Who] Perceives the Sounds of the World”. She is an all-seeing, all-hearing being who is called upon by worshipers in times of uncertainty, despair, and fear. Guanyin is often referred to as the “most widely beloved Buddhist Divinity”, with miraculous powers to assist all those who pray to her, as is said in the Lotus Sutra and Kāraṇḍavyūha Sūtra.