From “TAOISM-BRIEF INTRO TO…” the Chinese “… GODDESS OF MERCY ( GUAN YIN ) The Japanese counterpart and equal to this Goddess is called Kannon.
“GUAN-YIN: Goddess of Compassion and Caring, and one of the Four Supreme BODHISATTVAs of Chinese Buddhism.
Otherwise known as AVALOKITESVARA in India, she had finally attained Enlightenment after much non-struggling with non-things. She was just about to enter Heaven to join the other BUDDHAS when she heard the cries of the poor unsaved souls back on Earth.
Her heart touched by pity, she vowed never to rest until every single soul was brought to Buddhahood. The magnitude of contemplating this task made her head explode into a thousand pieces, but she was perfectly fine after BUDDHA gave her a few Aspirin Sutras.
Turning aside from Heaven, GUAN-YIN went to the sacred island of Potuoshan and embarked on her new career. This selfless sacrifice brought her much credit, and reverence which persists to this day.
As a deity often called upon to appear in the most unusual and difficult situations, GUAN-YIN has the ability to transform into any living thing. In fact she’s better known in India as a male. But she often appears in female form to avoid gossip — and because she likes it. Like her Japanese equivalent KANNON, GUAN-YIN is known as a female deity, and has taken on a modest amount of fertility work. Childless women pray to her for offspring. In this respect she is also a Goddess of Rice, filling it with her own milk to give nourishing tit-bits.
The Bodhisattva who saves us from the Three Calamities and the Eight Disasters, GUAN-YIN is always on call, and has appeared in many a Chinese tale to help the likes of MONKEY out of tricky situations. His — or her — peaceful benevolence has soothed many a worried brow. We are full of admiration.”
(I don’t know if the link is still good or the art is still for sale but this is the original source for it.)