In China, the goddess of mercy is named as Kuan Yin or Quan Yin or Kwan Yin or Guan Yin. According to the legend, she was an enlightened being, who gave up her right to enter through the Gates of Paradise; but the cries of suffering beings on Earth impelled her to return. Guan Yin is known as the Bodhisattva, who reached Nirvana and achieved soul awakening; but she remained on earth to soothe the agony of humankind and to lead them to the path of spiritual upliftment.
Kwan yin is found to be the goddess of compassion. Also, she is known to be the only female Bodhisattva; but, she was not always female. Because initially, the god of compassion was known to be Avalokite vara, who was actually a male. Though till today, Buddhist God of compassion is found to be male in Tibet and India. But after some time, when in the fifth century, the Buddhism started spreading in China; then it became difficult for the Chinese to relate to any male God of compassion. That is how; upon merging two different traditions, this female goddess of compassion in Buddhism took place. When we see Kwan yin statue, we can see Guan Yin is holding a child in arms. Holding child in arm signifies that she is the Buddhist saint of barren women. And, this child symbolizes that cries for children reach her soul.
In this kind of Kwan yin statue, white colored cloth is worn by Bodhisattva, which depicts the symbol of purity. Also, from this kind Kwan yin statue, we can see the one mala, which is being held in one hand of the goddess, and it is the symbol of her dedication towards Buddhism. In the Kwan yin statue, Guan Yin is found with the lotus blossom, which reminds us that though our lives are drowned within the mud of misery; but, we still can attain enlightment with the good work. Many times, these statues come with several arms, and one eye in the palm of each hand. She can also be witnessed in many of the iconic Buddha poses (mudra) like, earth touching, teaching, lotus etc. Popularity of this Goddess has increased over the centuries, as she has been accepted as the protector of sailors, farmers and travelers.
In many popular temples in South China, the goddess of compassion, Kwan Yin, is worshipped with the faith that she can bless family with a child.