Himalayan Art Resources

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

གནས་བརྟན། 罗汉
(item no. 984)
Origin Location Mongolia
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Uncertain
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Shelley & Donald Rubin
Catalogue # acc.# P2000.18.3
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Appearance: Arhat

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Kalika, the Elder (Tibetan: ne ten, du den. Sanskrit: Sthavira Kalika): the 4th arhat from the set of 16 Great Arhats. (See another painting from the same set HAR #711). The Hahn Collection in Seoul Korea has three paintings following the same composition as this set of arhats. One of the paintings is an exact match to HAR #984 exhibited and discussed here.

Slightly hunched, with an elderly appearance, he has long eyebrows and facial hair. In the right hand he holds a large gold earring - a display of magical emanation. Wearing various coloured robes and sandals on the feet, he sits atop a large cushion seat with the legs arranged in front. A gold vajra scepter stands upright on a table at the side.

"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 upper left an attendant figure adjusts a folio text on a bookcase. At the top right is the tutelary deity Mahachakra Vajrapani, blue in colour with three faces and six hands, embracing the consort. At the lower left two standing figures engage in conversation while at the lower right two domesticated reindeer relax comfortably. Two text panels appear at the bottom right and left corners.

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 Hvashang and the Four Guardians of the Directions - Vaishravana, Virupaksha, Dritarashtra and Virudhaka.

Jeff Watt 4-2000

Related Items
Thematic Sets
Painting Set: Arhats: Single Main Figure
Arhat/Sthavira: Kalika Main Page
Collection of Shelley & Donald Rubin
Painting Set: Arhat Set XXV