Himalayan Art Resources

Painting Set: Arhat Set: Chinese Ink

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These paintings which appear to be executed in an obvious Chinese black ink technique are somewhat controversial. They are claimed by some to be the work of the 10th Karmapa Choying Dorje. It is true that Choying Dorje experimented with different techniques and styles a clear example of which is his version of the Buddha's life story. However, it will be left up to the 10th Karmapa experts to determine if he also did Chinese black ink compositions.

There are three of these paintings known to be in North America. Eleven paintings remain in the Himalayan Regions. Two paintings belong to a private collector. Those two are a Guardian King and the attendant Dharmatala, therefore the remaining three Guardian Kings and Hvashang are each painted in a separate composition. The centerpiece of the set, Shakyamuni Buddha, is unaccounted for but is likely to be in a composition with Shariputra and Maudgalyayana standing at the right and left side. These calculations if correct would mean that the full set of paintings is twenty-three in number.

Jeff Watt 3-2009