This remarkable soapstone carving is part of a group of exquisitely well-carved figures of Guanyin and other popular deities which rarely bear signatures. The style and quality of carving suggest that the current example could be attributed to the workshop of the renowned carver Zhou Bin, if not to the artist's own hand. The delicate treatment of the facial features, including the rendering of the long, pointed earlobes, bear strong resemblance to Zhou's signed works, and the masterful carved details on the hems of the robes are of the quality one would expect to see in the master's work. A signed soapstone example of a luohan by Zhou Bin is illustrated by G. Tsang and H. Moss, Arts from the Scholar's Studio, Hong Kong, 1986, p. 87. no. 44, where one can see similar treatment of the robes.
The particular incarnation of Guanyin depicted here may be that of the baiyi, or the White-Robed Guanyin. A similar depiction of Guanyin beside a vase and stack of books appears in a rubbing after a painting by Tang Yin (1470-1523), and in another rubbing after Wang Zhiying, which is dated to the 18th year of Kangxi. See Guanyin Baoxiang, Shanghai, 1998, pp. 211 and 257.