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Arhat (Luohan)

Unidentified Artist

Period:
Yuan dynasty (1271–1368)
Date:
late 13th–14th century
Culture:
China
Medium:
Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk
Dimensions:
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)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Purchase, Seymour Fund and Bequest of Dorothy Graham Bennett, 1984
Accession Number:
1984.226
  • Description

    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.

  • See also
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    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
40446

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