University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
Object TitleThe Luohans, or The Eighteen Luohan
Object Number:C450
Current Location: Collections Storage
Chan Buddhist
Provenience: China
Maker: Qiu Ying
Style of Li Gonglin
Period: Ming Dynasty
Date Made: 1545
Early Date: 1545
Late Date: 1545
Iconography:Eighteen Luohans
Inscription Language:Chinese Language
Credit Line:Purchased from A. G. Worch, 1925
Other Number:GETZ 44 - Other Number


Scroll painting by Qiu Ying's 仇英 (1494 - 1552 CE) in the style of Li Gonglin 李公麟 (1049 - 1106 CE). The subject "Eighteen Lohans" (Sanskrit: arhat), Buddha's disciples who attained enlightenment through their own efforts, was a favorite theme in Chinese legend and painting. This painting's silver and gold lines on a dark blue ground, a trait of Chinese and Japanese Buddhist painting from the 8th century CE onward, create a sumptuous yet sublime effect. In China scarcely any paintings of this style remain; this is one of the few known existing pieces. Generally two schools, literati and court artisan, dominated the painting of pre-modern China. The literati painters preferred untrammeled, expressive brush strokes, while the professional court artisans usually paid meticulous attention to detail. Though a professional painter, Qiu was well acquainted with the literati and was active in their circles in Suzhou where he lived. The blending of these two traditions is apparent in this beautiful work. Each Luohan is paired with a poem whose content is a montage of vague terms coupled with fleeting images. These poems suggest influence from the tradition of Chan (Zen) Buddhism.

Current & Past Exhibitions:

Buddhism: History and Diversity of a Great Tradition (12 Dec 1985 - 21 Oct 2012) View Objects in Exhibition


[Catalogue] Possehl, Gregory L., and Ch'eng-mei, Chang, and Peters, Heather, and Lyons, Elizabeth. 1985. Buddhism: History and Diversity of a Great Tradition.. Philadelphia. The University Museum. Actual CitationView Objects related to this Actual Citation

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