Sudhana Kumāra (a.k.a. Sun Chai) is an acolyte of Kwun Yam, the Chinese goddess of mercy (a.k.a. Avalokitasvara). Though the inscription on this plaque names the Hall of Sun Chai, it is not known from which temple it came.

LOCATION

This plaque is held in a private collection.

Sudhana Kumāra plaque
Sudhana Kumāra plaque – in private collection (photo courtesy Janis Wilton)

TRANSCRIPTION

善財童子殿
沐恩弟子 鄭☐ 鄭☐ 敬送

TRANSLATION

Hall of Sudhana Kumāra.

Respectfully given by Thy favoured followers Cheng … and Cheng …

WHERE WAS THIS OBJECT USED?

The answer to this question is not yet known. The given names of its donors are not readable in the image, but their surname is 鄭 “Cheng”. This same surname is predominant amongst the donors to Tingha’s 1883 Howell Road temple who are identified elsewhere on this website. However, the reference in the primary inscription to a hall dedicated to this deity appears to be inconsistent with the fact that Tingha’s 1883 Howell Road temple only comprised two rooms. A hall dedicated to Sudhana Kumāra is likely to have been located to one side of a central hall dedicated to Avalokitasvara, on the other side of which one would expect to find a hall dedicated to Avalokitasvara’s other acolyte, Nāga Kanya.

NOTES

Sudhana Kumāra: Sudhana Kumāra is an acolyte of Avalokitasvara (a.k.a. Kwun Yam; the Chinese goddess of mercy). As the Sanskrit names suggests, he a Buddhist deity. But, on account of its syncretic nature, he is also venerated in Chinese folk religion, as is Avalokitasvara.

Sudhana Kumāra printing blocks: See the inscription post on the “fortune-paper printing blocks” for examples of other objects that relate to Sudhana Kumāra.

This is a continually evolving website, and more information about this object will be published as further research is conducted.