Chinese Ming Style Luohan statue, cast bronze, late Qing Dynasty or early Republic Period, 28cm high/ 18cm wide at base. By family repute, the bronze figure which is now offered for sale was bought in Shanghai in the early 1920s and came by descent to the vendor. The assumption is therefore that the statue most likely dates to the late Qing or early Republic period.
He is shaven headed and seated in a posture of repose and contemplation dressed in the simple garment of a Buddhist monk but adorned with a necklace and holding a rosary. Interestingly, as in most Chinese images of the Buddha himself, the earlobes of this Lohan are shown as exaggeratedly long.
This is not merely a stylistic choice but is a symbolic reference to the rejection of earthly luxury by the Buddha and his followers: the idea originally developing from the belief that, before seeking enlightenment, in his earthly life Prince Siddhartha (the Buddha) had a life of luxury and wore heavy jewelled earrings which stretched the lobes. The long but unadorned earlobes in images of Buddha and his followers therefore came to symbolise the rejection of earthly luxury and power. In Chinese Buddhism the eighteen Luohan (Arhats) were the original disciples of Gautama Buddha who had all achieved freedom from the desires of the earthly world by following the Noble Eightfold Path and experienced the four stages of enlightenment. The stylised simplicity of pose of this figure reflects the belief that he is shown on the brink of Nirvana.
Although such works can be viewed as primarily decorative, especially in the West, there is also a potential for such an image to assist in contemplation. The item "Chinese Luohan statue, bronze, Late Qing/Early Republic Period, 24cmH, 18cmW" is in sale since Wednesday, November 10, 2021. This item is in the category "Antiques\Asian/Oriental Antiques\Chinese\Figurines & Statues". The seller is "psort1" and is located in Gateshead. This item can be shipped to United Kingdom, Antigua and barbuda, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Australia, United States, Bahrain, Canada, Brazil, Japan, New Zealand, China, Israel, Hong Kong, Norway, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Bangladesh, Belize, Bermuda, Bolivia, Barbados, Brunei darussalam, Cayman islands, Dominica, Ecuador, Egypt, Guernsey, Gibraltar, Guadeloupe, Grenada, French guiana, Iceland, Jersey, Jordan, Cambodia, Saint kitts and nevis, Saint lucia, Liechtenstein, Sri lanka, Macao, Monaco, Maldives, Montserrat, Martinique, Nicaragua, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Paraguay, Reunion, Turks and caicos islands, Aruba, Saudi arabia, South africa, United arab emirates, Ukraine, Chile, Bahamas, Colombia, Costa rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Kuwait, Panama, Philippines, Qatar, Trinidad and tobago, Uruguay, Viet nam, Russian federation.