In 1996, when Loretta H. Yang and Chang Yi visited the Buddhist grottoes near the desert oasis of Dunhuang in western China, the moment they saw the Thousand-armed, Thousand-eyed Guanyin fresco in Cave 3 at Mogao, painted during the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368) and slowly disappearing under the relentless weathering of the desert sandstorms, Yang vowed to recreate the image in glass as a way of handing down to future generations the wisdom and compassion it has accumulated over the centuries. This piece of glass relief constitutes a novel approach to the representation of one of the most cherished images of Far-eastern Buddhism. The layout of the sculpture retains the proportions of the original mural, and the layered glass technique gives the impression of Guanyin (Avalokitesvara in Sanskrit) emerging from the wall of the cave. The emphasis of this series is on perfect proportion and precise detail, presenting considerable challenges in terms of technique. On the reverse side is engraved the Great Compassion Dharani, a popular incantation in Chinese Buddhism. The unique transparent nimbus represents the wisdom and compassion of Guanyin illuminating the world. The image exudes an air of boundless compassion, quelling the anxiety of a troubled heart. Several decades later, Yang is planning to complete the series with a Thousand-armed, Thousand-eyed Guanyin 450 cm tall.
With a thousand illuminated eyes, She observes the suffering of the world; With a thousand liberating arms, She measures the mire of the world; Inquire into a vast fulfilled wisdom, Emerge with compassion.