The best book I have read on Quan Yin and her history. Yu Chunfang has done a masterful job of exploring the history of the savior Quan Yin and makes it a pleasure to read - rather than an academic reference type book.
Finally, here is an historically-oriented, multi-disciplinary view of Buddhist practice and iconography that is well-written and impeccably researched. Yu looks at Kwan Yin through a Chinese-American lens, carefully examining past scholarship and then giving her own persuasive appraisal of the Chinese cult of the Compassion Mother. Rather than seeing Kwan Yin as a simply a version of White Tara or some other female Buddhist deity, Yu shows how Kwan Yin was a uniquely Chinese version of the compassion Buddha, Avalokiteshvara. Examining the bureaucratic hierarchy of Chinese society, Yu concludes that there was "too much yang and not enough yin." Kwan Yin became popular as a gentle, compassionate savioress who appeared to monks, child-bearing women and children. Yu's command of art history and iconography deserve tremendous credit. Her discussion of lay buddhism and Chinese folktales is absorbing. If you are at all interested in a more intellectual, historical look at Chinese Buddhism, give this book a look.