Help us bring life to art, and art to lives. Make a donation.

Art/ Collection/ Art Object

明 丁雲鵬 十八羅漢圖 卷
Eighteen Luohans

Ding Yunpeng (Chinese, 1547–after 1621)
Ming dynasty (1368–1644)
dated 1609
Handscroll; ink on paper
8 1/4 x 92 in. (21 x 233.7 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Friends of Asian Art Gifts, 1996
Accession Number:
Not on view
Luohans (arhats, in Sanskrit), disciples of the Buddha, were widely regarded in China as guardian saints who remained in the world as protectors of the Buddhist faithful until the coming of the future Buddha. As the Ming dynasty began to unravel from political corruption, the cult of the luohans enjoyed widespread popularity as people were increasingly attracted to messianic religious movements with their promise of salvation from the ills of this life. It was in this context that a new expressionistic style of Buddhist painting arose. Ding Yunpeng was one of the initiators of this revival.

Eighteen Luohans presents a fusion of Ding's earlier meticulous fine-line drawing style with the psychological intensity of his later archaistic manner. Painted when he was sixty-two, the images demonstrate qualities of introspection and serene strength. His pale sensitive brushwork draws the viewer into the composition like a guided meditation. Like the path of gradual enlightenment that the ascetics epitomize, these images are not instantly comprehensible to the viewer but must be contemplated slowly, one by one. It is only then that one discovers their striking individuality and spiritual force.
Inscription: Artist's inscription and signature (1 column in standard script)


Artist’s seals


Label strip

Luo Zhenyu 羅振玉 (1866–1940), 1 column in semi-cursive/standard script, undated; 1 illegible seal:


Collectors’ seals

Dai Zhi 戴植 (19th c.)

Chen Baochen 陳寳琛 (1848-1935)
[ James Singer , London, until 1996; sold to MMA]
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The New Chinese Galleries: An Inaugural Installation," 1997.

Related Objects

The Lute-song: Farewell at Xunyang

Artist: Ding Yunpeng (Chinese, 1547–after 1621) Date: dated 1585 Medium: Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper Accession: 13.100.22 On view in:Not on view

Fishing in River Country at Blossom Time

Artist: Wang Yuanqi (Chinese, 1642–1715) Date: dated 1709 Medium: Handscroll; ink and color on paper Accession: 1989.363.157 On view in:Gallery 213

Whiling Away the Summer

Artist: Wu Li (Chinese, 1632–1718) Date: dated 1679 Medium: Handscroll; ink on paper Accession: 1977.81 On view in:Gallery 214

The Kangxi Emperor's Southern Inspection Tour, Scroll Three: Ji'nan to Mount Tai

Artist: Wang Hui (Chinese, 1632–1717) and assistants Date: datable to 1698 Medium: Handscroll; ink and color on silk Accession: 1979.5a–d On view in:Not on view