Quan Yin, 2005
• carrara statuario marble
• 14” H x 5” W x 5” D (36cm H x 13cm W x 13cm D)
• private collection, San Francisco, CA, USA
Michael Binkley was commissioned by a collector to carve an original fine art marble sculpture of Guan Yin, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy and Compassion. Binkley carved this sculpture from a variety of white marble called statuario which comes from the quarries above the famous town of Cararra, Italy. This marble is recognized internationally as the finest statuary carving marble in the world for its almost pure white colour. This was a beautiful example of statuario, almost pure white.
Binkley incorporated many symbols into the sculpture to reflect the attributes of Gaun Yin. She stands on a lotus flower, the Buddhist symbol of Purity. She wears a traditional headdress and long flowing robes. Her hands are held demurely against her thighs and the Pearls of Wisdom dangle from her left hand and follow the path of her robe. At her feet is a sheaf of rice, the symbol of Fertility and beside her is a vessel containing the sacred Water of Life. Her stance allows for a serpentine curve that undulates vertically from the top of her headdress to the lotus flower.
Binkley used a matte finish on this sculpture so the surfaces were silky smooth to the touch, but the marble can hold shadow effectively. The sculptor feels that this type of surface treatment is crucial for his figurative works, as shadows describe the details of the composition, especially as many of the details in this sculpture are quite small.