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the colorful world of lohan paintings Introduction Selections:The Opening of Prajñā Wisdom Selections:The Beauty of Sutra Illustrations Selections:Doctrine on Origins of the Buddhist World Selections:Perfected Incarnations of Compassion Selections:Writing Sutras to Achieve Merit and Virtue Selections:Buddhist Images of Awe and Majesty Exhibit Works トップページ

佛光普照 The Buddha Light Illuminating All

::: The Colorful World of Lohan Paintings
 
 
In the early history of Buddhism, lohans (a term derived from the transliteration of "arhat" in Sanskrit to "a-lo-han" in Chinese) were isolated practitioners. Later, influenced by the popular teachings of Mahāyāna (Greater Vehicle) Buddhism, lohans were endowed with the attributes of protecting and maintaining the true law of the Buddhist faith, assuming the characteristics of bodhisattvas in assisting and benefiting all sentient beings on the path to enlightenment. With no records of illustrations to define the features of lohans, Chinese painters, who already had possessed a long artistic tradition, gave reign to their imagination to come up with examples of their own. Through brush and ink, they sometimes developed lohans into the cultivated figures of high Chinese monks. At other times, lohans were rendered as Indian figures with exaggerated foreign features. From the Yüan dynasty, Tibetan-style lohan images (which accompanied the introduction of Tibetan esoteric Buddhism) also appeared in China, being quite different from the figural art traditions of China proper. In fact, each lohan painting with its individual and unique qualities illustrates the varied and colorful world of Chinese Buddhist painting

 
Lohan(open new window)
Lohan
Attributed to Kuan-hsiu (832-912), Former Shu (Five Dynasties)
Hanging scroll, ink and color on silk, 123.7 x 71 cm

   
Rāhula, the Tenth Lohan(open new window)
Rāhula, the Tenth Lohan
Ting Kuan-p'eng (fl. ca. 1708-1771), Ch'ing dynasty
Hanging scroll, ink and color on paper, 127.5 x 57.5 cm

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Rāhula, the Tenth Lohan(open new window)
Rāhula, the Tenth Lohan
Yao Wen-han (fl. ca. 1736-1795), Ch'ing dynasty
Hanging scroll, ink and color on paper, 114.4 x 66.8 cm

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