This massive stucco head of Guanyin, wears an elaborate gilded crown with a small figure of Buddha in the center. This finely modelled reddish painted face, which has blackened over the years, exudes serenity. The slender hooded eyes, are half closed and downcast and the arched eyebrows extend to a broad straight nose over full lips. In the center of the forehead is a circular nodule– known as an urna . The long earlobes indicate this is a figure of great wisdom. The hair is pulled up from the face into a top-knot, held together with a band.
Stucco sculpture was an effective way to produce dramatic and large (religious) sculpture. The figures are generally constructed on a wooden frame, which is padded with reed, then further modelled in clay stucco. It is smoothly finished with a thin layer of gesso which is sometimes incised with decorative patterns. The figure is then covered with a thin layer of paper which is further embellished with paint and gilding. In some cases, very large figures have been found to have a stone instead of a wooden core. Stucco is not suitable for outside, as it cannot withstand the elements. It is therefore always made for inside use, where the material was very durable, and could be re-painted when necessary.