Himalayan Art Resources

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

གནས་བརྟན། 罗汉
(item no. 292)
Origin Location Eastern Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Uncertain
Size 60.64x39.37cm (23.88x15.50in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# F1997.19.4
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Appearance: Arhat

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Bhadra the Elder (Tibetan: ne ten, zang po, Sanskrit: Sthavira Bhadra): the 6th arhat from the set of 16 great arhats.

Fair skinned, gazing forward with the eyes partially closed he is content in appearance, with receding black hair, a moustache and goatee. Held upraised the right hand is in the mudra (gesture) of Dharma explication. The left is placed in the lap, with the palm facing up, in the mudra of meditation. Wearing red patchwork robes with a blue inner lining, he sits firmly in vajra posture with the right leg placed over left, above a thick layered seat of dark green leaves atop a rocky bench, surrounded by a dark blue nimbus and a pink circular aureola. A begging bowl filled with medicinal herbs is located directly in front. At the right side of the rocky seat is a mythical figure associated with water, offering up a precious orange jewel with the right hand, in a kneeling posture. At the lower right is a monk wearing orange and red robes, performing various gestures, and kneeling on a rectangular monk's mat. In the foreground, the banks of the dark blue Yamuna river are strewn with wishing jewels, precious gold ornaments and red coral, a pair of reclining deer gaze upward.

"On an Island in the Yamuna river is the noble elder Bhadra, surrounded by 1,200 arhats; homage to the One performing [the gestures] of Dharma explanation and meditation." (Sakya liturgical verse).

At the top center is the female bodhisattva, Green Tara, with one face and two hands performing the mudra of generosity with the right and the left at the heart holding the stem of a flower blossoming at the left side. Seated on a pink lotus with the right leg pendant on a flower blossom cushion she is completely encircled by green leaves and flower blossoms. The light blue sky melts downward mixing almost indistinguishably with the sparse green landscape of the foreground.

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: Bhadra Main Page
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Arhat/Sthavira
Collections: Auction House Main Page
Collection: Christies New York (Painting. September 15, 2015)
Painting Set: Arhat Set XX