The Sixth of the Sixteen Arhats (detail), Heian period, 11th century (National Treasure)
Japanese Gallery (Honkan) Room 2
November 7, 2023 (Tue) - December 3, 2023 (Sun)
The Sixteen Arhats are a group of immortal holy men, worshipped as the disciples of the Buddha and the protectors of his teachings. The work here is from the oldest surviving series of paintings that depict the Sixteen Arhats.
This particular arhat sits in a palm grove, one hand holding a feather fan and the other resting on a palm. Two submissive tigers sit on the ground before him, reflecting the arhat’s miraculous power over nature. His name and whereabouts are written in the top-right corner.
The arhat’s robes are rendered in delicate, flowing brushwork, with the colors remarkably vibrant even after 900 years. This style of painting reflects the aesthetic tastes of Japan’s nobility, the greatest patrons of Buddhism during this era.
|The Sixth of the Sixteen Arhats
|Heian period, 11th century