This statue a representation of Nyoirin Kannon, a deity present in all branches of Buddhism under different names. In Japanese Buddhist belief, the Nyoirin Kannon is one of six “changed forms” of the Goddess of Mercy. This specific form is associated with the granting of desires and is most often worshipped in the hopes of wish fulfillment and prosperity. Because the deity is most often depicted as female, groups of women would gather on the 19th night of the lunar calendar during the Edo Period (1615-1868 CE) to pray for fertility, healthy children, safety from disease and the safe passing of dead loved ones. Her relaxed sitting posture is meant to convey a feeling of royal ease, as well as her decorated headdress and general adornments, and each of her hands represents her vow to protect those of the six realms of rebirth in Buddhist belief. This item is dated at ca. 1600 CE.