This figure of Acouye Guanyin is similar to others made during the 12th century in south-west China, now Yunnan province, including one in the British Museum that appears to be similarly cast, but is of larger size (44.7 cm.), illustrated by W. Zwalf in the catalogue for the exhibition, Buddhism: Art and Faith, British Museum, 1985, p. 206, no. 297, where the author proposes that these figures were made as talismans for royal members of the Dali court. Other similar figures, including gilded and gilt-lacquered examples, are in a number of museums and collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Brooklyn Museum; the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco; The National Palace Museum, Taipei; the Victoria and Albert Museum; The Sumitomo Collection, Japan; The Musée Guimet; the Freer Gallery of Art; and the Yunnan Provincial Museum. A similar figure in the San Diego Museum, which bears an inscription ascribing it a Yunnanese provenance and a date between 1147 and 1172, is illustrated by H. Chapin, 'Yunnanese Images of Avalokitesvara,' Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, vol. 8 (1944-45), pp. 131-85. Of the similar figures that have been published, the present figure is the only one that wears sandals.
According to H. Munsterberg in Chinese Buddhist Bronzes, Vermont/Japan, 1967, p. 68, these figures with their bare chest, slender body, tight-fitting skirt and conical hair treatment, exhibit an Indian influence. This opinion is shared by A. Lutz in 'Buddhist Art in Yunnan', Orientations, February 1992, p. 49, in his discussion of a gold version of this type of figure found in a reliquary deposit during restoration work in the late 1970s at the Qianxu Pagoda, Yunnan province, where he refers to these bronzes as the "only sculptural form in Yunnan whose origins can be traced back to Southeast Asia."