Himalayan Art Resources

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

གནས་བརྟན། 罗汉
(item no. 90302)
Origin Location Eastern Tibet
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Karma (Kagyu)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Robert and Lois Baylis
Painting School Karma Gardri
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Appearance: Arhat

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Kanakavatsa, the Elder (Tibetan: ne ten, ser be?u, Sanskrit: Sthavira Kanakavatsa, English: the Golden Calf): the 7th arhat from the set of 16 great arhats.

Mature in appearance, he has dark hair, a moustache and goatee. Gazing to the side, he holds a string of jewels - a gift of the nagas. Dressed in variously coloured robes, in a relaxed manner with the legs splayed, he sits atop a square throne with a backrest decorated with dragon heads. A pair of tigers lounge in the foreground.

"In the excellent land of Kashmir is the noble elder Kanakavatsa, surrounded by 500 arhats; homage to the One holding a jewel lasso." (Sakya liturgical verse).

Holding upraised a flower vase, a monk attendant stands respectfully at the side. Stalks of bamboo bend under the weight of a flock of white birds. At the top left is a Karmapa lama wearing a black hat. At the right is the wrathful bodhisattva Vajrapani. At the bottom right is another Karmapa lama holding a vajra and bell at the heart.

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. (See painting #90301 from the same set).

Jeff Watt 4-2000

Related Items
Thematic Sets
Collection of Robert & Lois Baylis
Painting Set: Arhats: Single Main Figure
Arhat/Sthavira: Kanakavatsa Main Page
Painting Set: Arhat Set IX