, Liao dynasty (907–1125), ca. 1000
Hebei Province, China
Earthenware with three-color (sancai
H. 41 1/4 in. (104.8 cm)
Frederick C. Hewitt Fund, 1921 (21.76)
On view: Gallery 208 Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Buddhist tradition tells of groups of 16, 18, or 500 luohans who were commanded by Buddha to await the coming of Maitreya, the Future Buddha. This promise of salvation held great appeal to Chinese Buddhists at the end of the ninth century, for they had just been through a period a great persecution, and a cult built around the luohans as guardians gained momentum at that time.
"Arhat (luohan) [China] (21.76)". In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/21.76 (September 2010)