This finely cast Luohan
embodies a moment of meditative reflection, beautifully displayed through its relaxed posture, the stroking of the lion and the cast-off shoe. The figure is particularly notable for the fine quality of its gilding and the sensitive rendering of fine details, from the intricately patterned fabric on which the figure rests, to the crisp folds of its loose robe and the expressive facial features. Luohan
, or arhats, were close personal disciples of Shakyamuni Buddha. Although they attained Buddhahood during the course of their lives, they delayed entering Nirvana and remained on earth to protect the Buddhist dharma
and to aid others in seeking enlightenment according to the instruction of the Buddha. Invested with extraordinary spiritual power, they are believed to possess perfect wisdom and insight of all existence while being freed from the bonds of desires.
A larger Luohan figure, cast with one foot raised, in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, is illustrated in Rose Kerr, Later Chinese Bronzes, London, 1990, pl. 71; and another attributed to the Yuan dynasty, was sold in our London rooms, 12th June 1990, lot 37.