Quan Yin is the Bodhisattva of compassion. A Bodhisattva is anyone who vows to return time and again, no matter how enlightened they are, until all the suffering of all the humankind is released.
HE originally was a manifestation of the male deity Avalokiteshvara, a.k.a. Chenrezig, right. It is said that when Avalokiteshvara saw the suffering of the world, he grew 10,000 arms to hold the afflicted, and shed 21 tears. Each tear became a different goddess Tara.
SHE (really, either way!) is said to answer all pleas for help. S/he is most often depicted on clouds or waves, holding a lotus blossom and/or a vial containing the nectar of immortality. My first altar statue was the soapstone Quan Yin right, bought 35 years ago in Santa Monica; she is holding the vial containing the nectar of immortality.
I also wear her next to my heart on a strand of antique blood red white hearts. While they last, I have a few Quan Yins available on etsy (shameless plug, as I am going out of business in jewelry, sales continually store wide!)
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Painted images courtesy of Dkatiepowellart —
Jewelry (shameless sales plug) is from trishnajewelry — both are me too!