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The Sixteen Luohans

Attributed to Qiu Ying (Chinese, ca. 1495–1552)

Period:
Ming dynasty (1368–1644)
Date:
16th century
Culture:
China
Medium:
Handscroll; ink on paper
Dimensions:
Image: 13 9/16 x 206 3/8 in. (34.4 x 524.2 cm) Overall with mounting: 13 7/8 x 468 3/4 in. (35.2 x 1190.6 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Gift of Douglas Dillon, 1989
Accession Number:
1989.235.3
  • Description

    Best known for his paintings rendered in brilliant mineral colors, Qiu Ying sometimes worked in ink alone to demonstrate his skill as a draftsman. In this dynamic procession of luohans and their attendants, the figures are enlivened through exquisitely controlled, undulating and folded brush lines and luminous graded washes. Qiu's enthusiasm for detail is evident in the remarkable individualization of the holy men's eccentric features and the delicate textile designs of their robes. Although the artist's inscription credits the monk-artist Guanxiu (832–912) as the source of his inspiration, the ninth-century master's grotesque luohans have here been replaced by elegant Sinicized ascetics.

    Reflecting the blending of Buddhism and Confucianism in later Chinese culture, this procession of luohans is shown ceremoniously escorting a Chinese scholar—identifiable by his tall cap and full robes—and his retinue out of the clouds.

  • See also
    Who
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
44592

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