Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Arhat (Luohan)

Period:
Ming dynasty (1368–1644)
Date:
16th–17th century
Culture:
China
Medium:
Wood (willow) with traces of pigment, single-woodblock construction
Dimensions:
H. 19 1/8 in. (48.6 cm); W. 7 in. (17.8 cm)
Classification:
Sculpture
Credit Line:
Purchase, Friends of Asian Art Gifts, 1990
Accession Number:
1990.113
Not on view
This sculpture epitomizes the merging of religious and secular imagery in later Chinese Buddhist sculpture. With his shaven head and elongated earlobes, the figure resembles a luohan (one of the Indian disciples of the Buddha), but his refined facial features, dignified posture, long-sleeved robe, and pointed shoes—all attributes associated with Confucian scholar-officials—identify him unmistakably as a youthful monk.

The sculpture’s tendency toward abstraction and stylization—the contours of the head, body, and robes are conveyed through the buildup of simple, curved forms—recall thirteenth-century images, but a radiocarbon date suggests that the piece dates to between A.D. 1324 and 1617.
Estate of Louise March , Palisades, NY (until 1990; sold to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Douglas Dillon Legacy: Chinese Painting for the Metropolitan Museum," March 12, 2004–August 8, 2004.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Secular and Sacred: Scholars, Deities, and Immortals in Chinese Art," September 10, 2005–January 8, 2006.

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