Image: 44 1/4 x 19 5/16 in. (112.4 x 49.1 cm)
Overall with mounting: 78 x 20 3/8 in. (198.1 x 51.8 cm)
Overall with knobs: 78 x 22 in. (198.1 x 55.9 cm)
Purchase, Seymour Fund and Bequest of Dorothy Graham Bennett, 1984
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 211
Fourteenth-century renderings of arhats (or luohans), particularly from the second half of that period, are imbued with an intensity that differs markedly from the more serene representations of these figures that dominated the centuries before. In this powerful painting, a bearded arhat stands in an undefined space holding a begging bowl that has miraculously filled with flowers. He gazes intently at the bowl, apparently unaware of the wind that is causing his robes to flutter. The broad, bare chest is unusual and may be another example of Indo-Himalayan influence on Chinese art of the fourteenth century. A similar disregard for clothing and dramatic posturing are often found in representations of mahasiddhas, the unorthodox and quasi-historical Indian figures who helped spur the development of Esoteric Buddhist traditions from the seventh through the twelfth century.