Himalayan Art Resources

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

གནས་བརྟན། 罗汉
(item no. 332)
Origin Location Eastern Tibet
Date Range 1500 - 1599
Lineages Uncertain
Size 80.01x46.99cm (31.50x18.50in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# F1997.17.15
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Appearance: Arhat

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Rahula, the Elder (Tibetan: ne ten, dra chen dzin, Sanskrit: Sthavira Rahula): the actual son of the buddha Shakyamuni and the 10th arhat from the set of 16 Great Arhats.

With a pale complexion, handsome and clean shaven, he holds in the two hands held to the heart a gold tiara studded with jewels - a gift of the gods from the Heaven of Thirty-three. Wearing a jade green cloak with long sleeves, a white lining and tied with a blue sash, across the shoulders and wrapped about the lower body is an orange and red patchwork robe. With the legs in vajra posture above a floral design carpet he sits atop a rocky bench with the head surrounded by a large ethereal circle of light.

"On the Island of Priyangku is the noble elder Rahula, surrounded by 1,100 arhats; homage to the One holding a jewelled tiara." (Sakya liturgical text).

In front on a rock footstool is a pair of orange sandals. Resting peacefully at the lower left a brown spotted stag sits with the head turned to the side. At the right a heavenly figure with a dark moustache and goatee, wearing a Dharma book on the back tied with a red sash, rides atop a large green dragon twisting with the limbs flailed above a bank of billowing white clouds. A steep rocky hillside of blue and green rises at the right covered with white flowering shrubs and trees. At the left a terraced landscape extends upward to a cloud filled sky.

The full group of arhats traditionally comprise 25 figures: the buddha Shakyamuni, together with the two foremost disciples - Shariputra and Maudgalyayana, the 16 Arhats, the attendant Dharmata, the patron Hva-shang and the Four Guardians of the Directions; Vaishravana, Virupaksha, Dritarashtra and Virudhaka.

Jeff Watt 9-99

Front of Painting
English Translation of Inscription: Left fifth, Rahula.

Wylie Transliteration of Inscription: Front top: g.yon lnga pa sgra can 'dzin. Front bottom: ... Front, proper left side: ...

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 2
Painting Set: Arhats: Single Main Figure
Arhat/Sthavira: Rahula Main Page
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Arhat/Sthavira
Arhat/Sthavira: Rahula (Yongle Model Figure)
Arhat/Sthavira: Rahula (Masterworks)
Arhat/Sthavira: List of Elders & Related Figures
Painting Set: Arhat Set XXXI