The statue is from the 10th – 12th century, the Liao (CE 907-1125) to Chin (1115-1234) Dynasty in China. Earthenware with a three-color lead glaze. 40 inches high. The statue is part of the South and Southeast Asian Collection of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, which supplied the photograph. It is offered here in print form.
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri, is dedicated to the enjoyment and understanding of the visual arts and the varied cultures they represent and is internationally recognized for its collection of more than 33,000 objects. This encyclopedic museum is one of the best in the country, offering visitors the opportunity to explore civilization through the eyes of painters, sculptors, craftsmen, and many other artists. The Nelson-Atkins is free to all visitors every day. When I made my pilgrimage to the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City, I saw this Lohan statue in the same room with the Guanyin that is also included in the Shambhala Sun gallery. Seeing both at the same time is more of a darshan—a blessing received simply by seeing a great teacher—than an art experience. “Lohan” is Chinese for arhat, which means one who is self-liberated. The “I-Chou Lohans” came to light in 1913 after pirates found them in a secluded cave where they’d remained unseen for centuries. They are larger than life-size and depict the Buddha’s direct disciples and therefore the awakened state of mind. Trungpa Rinpoche said the sculptor must have created them out of his own advanced realization. It is thought that about eighteen of these statues were created. Only eight have survived, and of those only five are believed to have come to us unaltered. This is one of the most striking of the five intact lohan statues. –Liza Matthews
Learn more about the wonderful work of the Nelson-Atkins Museum at: www.nelson-atkins.org
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