Becoming Guanyin is a book about transformations: the bodhisattva Guanyin's gender fluidity; women identifying with Guanyin through dance, painting, hair embroidery, and hairpins; and educated men turning women's bodily practices into writing. Becoming Guanyin takes up the methodological question of how to access women's embodied material devotion through the mediation of texts written by and for educated men. Li carefully parses the layers of flesh, brush, ink, hair, gold, and precious gems that constitute women's religious practices and the transformation of these practices into discourse. The resulting book illuminates heretofore understudied or unstudied artistic, textual, and material facets of women's devotion to the widely worshipped bodhisattva Guanyin in late imperial China (with a focus on the Ming dynasty, 1368–1644).

The introduction lays out the key background of Guanyin's gender transformation from a primarily masculine to a primarily feminine figure. The feminine Guanyin played particularly important roles for women in late...

You do not currently have access to this content.