Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Arhat/Sthavira (Buddhist Elder) - 16 Elders: Angaja

གནས་བརྟན། 罗汉
(item no. 152)
Origin Location Eastern Tibet
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Karma (Kagyu)
Size 81.92x53.34cm (32.25x21in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Shelley & Donald Rubin
Catalogue # acc.# P1986.1.1
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Appearance: Arhat

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Angaja the Elder (Tibetan: ne ten, yan lag chung, Sanskrit: Sthavira Angaja): the 1st arhat from the set of 16 great arhats.

With an elderly appearance, advanced in age, his hair is white with long eyebrows hanging to the sides. In the right hand a fly whisk with a long handle is extended above the right shoulder. The left holds out to the side a golden incense bowl. In the stream of grey smoke twisting upward a heavenly palace is revealed amongst the perfume clouds. Wearing green patchwork strips and red monastic robes, an areola, ethereal, maroon in colour, surrounds the head. Seated atop an ornate throne - decorated with brocades, wishing jewels and a backrest, amidst wafting clouds, he sits before the snow peaked mount Kailash with lake Manosarwar on the right. At the side of the throne a monk points upward at the celestial sight.

At the top right is the buddha of long-life, Amitayus, red, holding a nectar filled vase in the lap with both hands; adorned with jewels and silks. At the left seated on a cushion is Marpa Chokyi Lodro (1012-1097), founder of the Kagyu School. In the guise of a layman with a moustache and goatee, he rests the two hands across the knees in the earth witness mudra (gesture). Before the throne, at the lower right is a lay attendant accompanied by a white elephant, with the trunk and right leg respectfully raised, carrying a load of precious jewels. At the bottom right is Lord Gampopa (1079-1153) wearing monastic robes and a red cap. The right hand is in the mudra of earth witness and the left supports a begging bowl in the lap. A herd of deer rest at the left side.

"On the great snow mountain of Kailash is the noble elder Angaja, surrounded by 1,300 arhats; homage to the One holding an incense bowl and fly whisk." (Sakya liturgical verse).

The Sixteen Great Arhats are generally painted as a set. Typically the full group would include the buddha Shakyamuni, the 16 arhats, the attendant Dharmatala, the patron Hvashang and the Four Guardians of the Directions: Vaishravana, Virupaksha, Dritarashtra and Virudhaka. (The name of the arhat is written in gold lettering beneath the throne).

Jeff Watt 5-99

Front of Painting
English Translation of Inscription: Homage to the noble elder Angaja.

Wylie Transliteration of Inscription: 'phags pa'i gnas rtan yan lag 'byung la na ma.

Related Items
Thematic Sets
Painting Set: Arhats: Single Main Figure
Subject: Fly Whisk
Arhat/Sthavira: Angaja Main Page
Collection of Shelley & Donald Rubin
Painting Set: Arhat Set IX