|Date Range||1800 - 1899|
|Material||Clay, Stamped (Tsatsa)|
Shakyamuni Buddha and the Sixteen Great Elders.
The group of figures commonly known as Shakyamuni and the Sixteen Arhats represent the Hinayana Tradition, the first turning of the wheel, of Buddhism within the visual culture of Himalayan and Tibetan Buddhism. The complete set of figures includes Shakyamuni together with the two principal students, Shariputra and Maudgalyayana, the Sixteen Great Elders/Sthavira, the attendant figures of Dharmatala and the patron Hvashang, along with the four Great Guardian Kings, or Kings of the Directions.
In total there are twenty-five figures represented in a single sculptural work, set or painted composition (see a schematic of all figures). If the figures are divided between several compositions then there can be sets of sculpture or paintings numbering three, five, seven, nine, or up to twenty-three paintings in total (the two principal students are always depicted standing or sitting alongside the Buddha). Sculpture and painting sets of Shakyamuni and the Arhats along with the individual paintings from broken sets comprise a very large proportion of all of Himalayan and Tibetan painting throughout the world.
Jeff Watt 3-2003