A Luohan and a demon

Historical period(s)
Ming dynasty, 1368-1644
Ink and color on silk
H x W (image): 139.9 x 78.3 cm (55 1/16 x 30 13/16 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll (mounted on panel)

Buddhism, China, demon, halo, Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644)
Provenance research underway.

When the historical Buddha was nearing the end of his life on earth and was approaching nirvana, he entrusted the protection of the Buddhist faith to sixteen great luohan, who were to remain as “guardians of the Buddhist law” until the future Buddha arrives. Luohan became popular figures in China in the seventh century, and their numbers varied over time, increasing from the original sixteen to eighteen and eventually growing to five hundred. Accompanied by a standing demon, this seated luohan likely derived from the largest group of five hundred. While the elderly luohan appears assertive yet benign, the fierce-looking demon reminds believers to behave themselves in the present life.

Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

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