Stone with color; H. 8 1/16 in. (20.5 cm)
Gift of Donald J. and Polly Bruckmann, 1994 (1994.93)
Arhats, followers of the Buddha who have gained freedom from suffering and ignorance, were most popular in the arts of India, Tibet, and China, where they were considered ideal exemplars of liberation. There are numerous traditions of "groups" of arhats. In Tibet, there are groups of sixteen, seventeen, and eighteen arhats known.
This bearded and long-haired arhat remains unidentified, as it is unclear what the two objects he holds in place on a tray using the meditation gesture are. He sits on a cloth-covered seat, not a throne, and although his hair and beard are depicted in exaggerated triangles, his face has lifelike lines of old age and his robe drapes realistically over his shoulders. This sculpture is unusual in that it retains much of its apparently original, brightly colored paint.