Himalayan Art Resources

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

གནས་བརྟན། 罗汉
(item no. 86915)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1600 - 1699
Size 101.60x59.06cm (40x23.25in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection The Brooklyn Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc. #BMA 1993.192.8, Gift of Rosemarie and Leighton Longhi
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Appearance: Arhat

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Nagasena the Elder (Tibetan: ne ten, lu'i de. Sanskrit: Sthavira Nagasena): from the set of 16 great arhats.

Gazing to the side he holds in the extended right hand a golden vase containing white flower blossoms. In the left hand he grasps a monk's iron staff held upright. Seated in a relaxed posture, with an attendant monk to the side of the throne on the right, an animated figure stands to the left. At the top is the long-life deity Ushnishavijaya, white, with three faces and eight hands.

"On the King of Mountains, Vipulopa is the noble elder Nagasena, surrounded by 1,200 arhats; homage to the One holding a vase and a khakkhara staff." (Sakya liturgical verse).

The Sixteen Great Arhats are generally painted as a set. Typically the full group would include the Buddha Shakyamuni with the 2 foremost disciples, the 16 great arhats, the attendant Dharmatala, the patron Hvashang and the Four Guardians of the Directions: Vaishravana, Virupaksha, Dritarashtra and Virudhaka.

Jeff Watt 3-2002

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