Buddhist disciple, or luohan, holding a peach


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 219

Although they are referenced in Indian sources, luohans (Sanskrit: arhat), or Buddhist disciples, are not represented in the visual arts of the subcontinent. Based on the disciples of the Historical Buddha, this group of sixteen figures was first depicted in China in the tenth century. By the sixteenth century, luohans had become an important motif in secular painting and the decorative arts, where they are understood as exemplars of a cultivated, but renunciatory, lifestyle.

Buddhist disciple, or luohan, holding a peach, Soapstone, China

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