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Arhat, Disciples of the Historical Buddha


The title of arhat (called lohan in Chinese, nanhan in Korean or rakan in Japanese) distinguishes the original disciples of the Historical Buddha (just as the disciples of Jesus Christ are called apostles). Often known by name and affiliated with particular stories and iconography, over the past 2500 years different groupings of arhat became popular in different Buddhist regions. Tibetan Buddhist religious art usually depicts groupings of either sixteen or eighteen arhat, but in the Chinese and Japanese Buddhist traditions even larger groups of as many as five hundred arhat became mythologized. Here is a selection of Tibetan Buddhist arhat portraits in the Museum collection:



Click thumbnails to view larger version.



Arhat, Disciple of the Historical Buddha  Arhat Pindola Bharadvaja and Arhat Chudapanthaka 
Arhat, Disciple of the Historical Buddha
(lived ca. 6th century BC)
China, Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)
Mercury-gilded copper alloy
Herman A.E. and Paul C. Jaehne
Collection, 1941  41.1391
Arhat Pindola Bharadvaja and Arhat Chudapanthaka
Tibet, 14th century
Colors on cloth
Purchase 1991 The Members’ Fund,
Louis Bamberger Bequest Fund,
Avis Miller Pond Fund and W. Clark Symington
Bequest Fund  91.265

 

 

 
Banner Images (details, left to right):

Arhat, Disciple of the Historical Buddha (lived ca. 6th century BC), China, Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), Mercury-gilded copper alloy, Herman A.E. and Paul C. Jaehne Collection, 1941  41.1391

Ngawang Sonam Gyaltsen (ca. 1667) with Teaching Lineages Sakya Order, Ngor Pal Evam Choden Monastery, Southern Tibet, 17th century, Colors and gold on cloth, Purchase 1979 Anonymous Fund  79.65

Gampopa (1079-1153), Kagyu Order, Tibet, 15th-18th century, Colors on wood, Purchase 1975 The Members' Fund  75.93




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