Himalayan Art Resources

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

གནས་བརྟན། 罗汉
(item no. 409)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1500 - 1599
Lineages Uncertain
Size 81.28x50.80cm (32x20in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# F1996.4.1
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Appearance: Arhat

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Abheda, the Elder (Tibetan: ne ten, mi che pa. Sanskrit: Sthavira Abheda): the 16th arhat from the set of 16 great arhats, principal students of the buddha Shakyamuni.

Elderly in appearance, wizened with age, the eyebrows are long and hang down at the ends. With the two hands he holds up a small gold stupa, a symbol of enlightenment - the mind of the Buddha. Wearing the patchwork robes of a monk, red with orange strips, he also wears an inner garment of blue with long sleeves and a white liner. Seated in a Western style with the two legs extended downward and wearing Chinese style shoes, he sits atop a deer skin mat on a rocky knoll. In front, a rock formation serves as a table supporting a gold incense bowl, vase with a branch of red coral and a book.

At the lower right an attendant with a beard, white turban, variously coloured garments and ornate boots, stands holding a golden water flask. At the upper right, wizened grey trees, pockmarked and twisted stretch upward and across toward a range of mountains from which flow a torrent of cascading white water. The foreground is a dark green park along the side of the river bank.

"On the King of Snow Mountains is the noble elder Abheda, surrounded by 1,100 arhats; homage to the One holding an enlightenment stupa." (Sakya liturgical text).

The Sixteen Great Arhats are generally painted as a set. The full group would include the buddha Shakyamuni, the 16 arhats, the attendant Dharmatala, the patron Hva-shang and the Four Guardians of the Directions - Vaishravana, Virupaksha, Dritarashtra and Virudhaka.

Jeff Watt 5-99

Reverse of Painting
English Translation of Inscription: Left eighth. Abheda.

Wylie Transliteration of Inscription: g.yon lnga pa sgra can 'dzin.

Special Features: (Cursive script (Umay))

Secondary Images
Related Items
Publication: Selection of Works - Painting (RMA)

Thematic Sets
Painting Set: Arhat Set XXXI
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 2
Painting Set: Arhats: Single Main Figure
Exhibition: Artist-in-Residence Showcase
Arhat/Sthavira (Buddhist Elder): Abheda Masterworks
Arhat/Sthavira (Buddhist Elder): Abheda (Copies)
Painting Set: Arhat/Sthavira (Yongle Style Miscellaneous)
Arhat: Abheda Main Page/Sthavira
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Arhat/Sthavira
Collection of RMA: Persons Masterworks