Himalayan Art Resources

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

གནས་བརྟན། 罗汉
(item no. 278)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Uncertain
Size 84.46x55.88cm (33.25x22in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# F1997.18.2
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Appearance: Arhat

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Vajriputra the Elder (Tibetan: ne ten, dor je mo bu, Sanskrit: Sthavira Vajriputra): the 5th arhat from the set of 16 great arhats.

Mature in visage with close cropped hair, a thin moustache and a light growth of facial hair, he holds the right hand upraised in a gesture of pointing with the index finger. The left arm resting across the knee holds in the hand an ornate red fly whisk topped with a tuft of white yak tail hair. Wearing orange patchwork robes with strips of blue cloth and a lower garment of red, the right arm is bare - the custom of a Buddhist monk. In a relaxed posture with the legs loosely extended, he sits atop an ornate throne elaborate with a decorative backrest emblazoned with wishing jewels. The head is surrounded by a green areola and the background filled with colourful flowering shrubs, pink clouds and a gentle mountain landscape, cascading waterfall and lotus pond rich with precious wishing jewels, gold ornaments and red coral. The irregular dark green landscape of the foreground is strewn with precious objects and fruit laden bushes.

At the right stands a celestial figure - a goddess white in colour, holding aloft a bowl of fresh persimmons on a bed of leaves. Adorned with jewels and gold ornaments, she is attired in variously coloured silks and garments.

"On the Island of Singha is the noble elder Vajriputra, surrounded by 1,000 arhats; homage to the One performing a pointing gesture and holding a 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.

Jeff Watt 5-99

Reverse of Painting
Special Features: (includes "Om Ah Hum" inscription)

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 2
Painting Set: Arhats: Single Main Figure
Arhat/Sthavira: Vajriputra Main Page
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Arhat/Sthavira
Painting Set: Arhat Set XXVIII
Arhat/Sthavira: Earrings