- Art History
- Religious Context
Video: Hvashang - Patron to the Arhats
Hvashang, the Chinese patron to the Sixteen Great Elders. Although appearing under the iconographic category of 'Arhat/sthavira' Hvashang is not an elder himself. He belongs to the Tibetan and Chinese narrative of the Sixteen Great Elders. Some painting and sculpture inscriptions read 'gyalpo hvashang' meaning King, or Monarch, Hvashang, possibly conflating with the Tang Emperor Taizong (598-649).
Hvashang (along with Dharmata) is ONLY depicted in single compositions or painting sets with Shakyamuni Buddha and the Sixteen Elders. These depictions can be in a single painting containing all of the figures or created in sets of paintings up to twenty-three in number. Both Hvashang and Dharmata are narrative figures belonging to the iconographic story of Shakyamuni and the Sixteen Great Elders. They are never employed as meditational deities.
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Jeff Watt 6-98 [updated 10-2011, 5-2017, 4-2020]