Himalayan Art Resources

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

གནས་བརྟན། 罗汉
(item no. 90305)
Origin Location Central Tibet
Date Range 1600 - 1699
Lineages Uncertain
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Robert and Lois Baylis
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Appearance: Arhat

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Kalika and Vanavasin (Tibetan: ne ten, du den dang ma pham, Sanskrit: Sthavira Kalika and Ajita): the 4th and 3rd arhats from the set of 16 great arhats.

Seated centrally at the left, Kalika, the 4th arhat, has a shaved head and growth of facial hair. In the two hands he holds large gold earrings - a display of magical emanation. Wearing red robes adorned with gold floral patterns and a blue inner garment, he rests in a relaxed posture on a cushion seat with the head surrounded by a bright red areola.

"On the good continent of Jambudvipa is the noble elder Kalika, surrounded by 1,100 arhats; homage to the One holding a pair of gold earrings." (Sakya liturgical verse).

At the right is Vanavasin, the 3rd arhat, in similar appearance, with the right hand extended forward in a pointing gesture above the knee, the left holds upraised a fly whisk - gold handled, mounted with a white tuft of yak tail. Attired in various robes, he sits in a relaxed posture with the right foot exposed. Above and below, scenes from the life-story of the two arhats are played out in lavish palaces, mountain retreats and open landscapes. Each is captioned with gold lettering framed in 12 rectangular red boxes.

"In the mountain cave of Seven-leaves is the noble elder Vanavasin, surrounded by 1,400 arhats; homage to the One with a pointing gesture and holding a fly whisk." (Sakya liturgical verse).

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 Hva-shang and the Four Guardians of the Directions: Vaishravana, Virupaksha, Dritarashtra and Virudhaka.

Jeff Watt 5-99

Related Items
Thematic Sets
Collection of Robert & Lois Baylis
Painting Set: Arhats: Two Main Figure Format
Arhat/Sthavira: Vanavasin Main Page
Arhat/Sthavira: Kalika Main Page
Painting Set: Arhat Set XXIV