From our team here at NGV, we would like to express our very best wishes to our community at this time. We are currently closed to the public and will reopen on Saturday, 27 June, 2020.

In line with Victorian Chief Health Officer’s guidance, the NGV will implement a variety of public health and physical distancing measures including free timed ticketing, appropriate queue management and increased deep cleaning of facilities, as well as increased hand sanitiser stations.

We encourage you to continue to visit our website and follow #NGVEveryDay on social media for updates on our reopening and daily inspiration.

We are very grateful for the loyalty of the NGV community and look forward to welcoming you back soon.


Japanese Bodhisattva (Sho-Kannon Bosatsu) 12th century

Bodhisattva (12th century)

Bodhisattvas are individuals filled with compassion who, rather than enter Nirvana after attaining enlightenment, remain in the life–death cycle to redeem other souls. While early Japanese Buddhist art displayed Chinese influences, from the Heian to Kamakura periods (794–1333) Japanese sculptures developed distinct characteristics, including gentle facial features with long, arched eyebrows extending to a thin nose, downcast eyes and small lips, evident in this Shō Kannon Bosatsu. The figure, standing on a lotus flower, is surrounded by a halo of swirling lotus plant motifs (karakusa). In Buddhism the lotus represents the true nature of humans, who rise through day-to-day mortality to emerge into the beauty of enlightenment. At the top of the halo is a disc inscribed with the Sanskrit character ‘Sa’ that refers to saintly, sacred and virtuous qualities, and that designates this figure as Shō Kannon Bosatsu.