The South Sea Guanyin is a form of the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara particular to Chinese Buddhism. The legend explains that a young woman by the name of Miaoshan was martyred and transformed into a manifestation of Avalokitesvara for her piety, and thereafter resided at her South Sea island abode, Potalaka. See Kaikado Journal, Spring 2000, no. 73.
Compare a shrine of larger size in the Illustrated Catalogue of the Tokyo National Museum: Chinese Ceramics, II, Tokyo, 1990, p.20, no. 520; and another illustrated in Porcelains from the Tianjin Municipal Museum, Hong Kong, 1993, no. 68.