Seated Luohan

Artist/maker unknown, Chinese

Made in China, Asia

16th - early 17th century

Linden and magnolia with painted and gilt decoration

55 1/2 × 38 × 27 inches (141 × 96.5 × 68.6 cm)

Curatorial Department:
East Asian Art

* Gallery 239, Asian Art, second floor (Hollis Baldeck Gallery)

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with funds contributed by the Wyncote Foundation, 2013

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Luohan (or arhat in Sanskrit) refers to the Buddha’s immediate disciples, monks who have reached an advanced state of spiritual learning and have vowed to protect the Buddhist faith and its teachings until the coming of Maitreya, the Buddha of the Future. They were depicted in paintings beginning in the 9th century, and from the 10th -12th centuries onwards, when the cult of luohan rose to prominence, they were shown depicted in groups of sixteen, eighteen, and sometimes five hundred in both sculptures and paintings. This figure probably belonged to a group of sixteen or eighteen luohan. Luohan are sometimes depicted with foreign features such as dark skin, high nose, and busy eyebrows, while others, like this large-sized figure, are shown as a Chinese monk with shaved head, wearing monastic robes and a serene expression.

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