The Arhat Vajraputra

Unidentified artist

Not on view

Tibetan Buddhism, imported in China by Mongol rulers in the thirteenth century, enjoyed further patronage from fifteenth-century emperors of the early Ming period. This work vividly demonstrates how hieratic Tibetan imagery was transformed under Chinese influence into a more naturalistic style, witnessed most strongly in the Sinicized treatment of landscapes. This painting, originally part of a set depicting the sixteen arhats (Buddhist saints), portrays Vajraputra, his hand raised in the teaching gesture (vitarkamudra), expounding dharma to a devotee. Tibetan inscriptions appear on the lower left margin and on the reverse.

The Arhat  Vajraputra, Unidentified artist Sino-Tibetan, 15th century, Distemper on cotton, Tibet

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