Pindola Bharadvaja, the First Venerable Luohan

citation

Maker(s)
Artist: Formerly attributed to Wu Daozi (傳)吳道子 (active ca. 710-760)
Historical period(s)
Yuan dynasty, 1345
Medium
Ink and color on silk
Dimensions
H x W (image): 126.2 x 62.6 cm (49 11/16 x 24 5/8 in)
Geography
China
Credit Line
Gift of Ruth Meyer Epstein
Accession Number
F1992.41
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Painting
Type

Hanging scroll

Keywords
Buddhism, China, Pindola, prayer beads, WWII-era provenance, Yuan dynasty (1279 - 1368)
Provenance

To 1970
Eugene Meyer (1875-1959) and Agnes E. Meyer (1887-1970), New York, NY, Washington, DC, and Mt. Kisco, NY [1]

From 1970 to 1992
Ruth Meyer Epstein (1921-2007), Scarsdale, NY, by descent from her mother, Agnes E. Meyer

From 1992
Freer Gallery of Art, given by Ruth Meyer Epstein in 1992 [2]

Notes:

[1] According to acquisition report, dated June 12, 1992, the painting has been in the United States since at least 1919. Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer started collecting Asian art in 1914 and in the following years they acquired a number of Chinese paintings, primarily from Charles Lang Freer’s dealers in Shanghai.

[2] See Ruth Meyer Epstein’s Deed of Gift, dated July 9, 1992, copy in object file.

Previous Owner(s)

Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer (1875-1959) and (1887-1970)
Mrs. Ruth Meyer Epstein

Label

The subject of this painting, Pindola Bharadvaja (Binduluo Boluoduoshe), was one of the Buddha's main disciples. He was a vigouous exponent of the Buddhist Law (dharma), and has manifested himself on several occasions to pious Chinese believers. Pindola has a voice like a lion's roar, and is often depicted with extraordinarily long eyebrows, a physical attribute for which he is sometimes named Changmai seng. Pindola was one of the first arhats to be depicted in China, and is the only luohan afforded special worship. He is said to dwell with eleven-hundred luohan protogees in the Western Continent of Apara-godaniya (Xi Qutuoni zhou).

In this portrait, Pindola is seated below banana leaves and lichen-studded rocks in a chair made of gnarled branches, one of which is shaped like a dragon. He holds an elaborate, long-handled incense burner in his left hand, and a white rosary is wrapped around his left forearm. He has a dignified, but stern, countenance with a prominent nose and jutting chin, which is covered with the stubble of a white beard. He has long white eyebrows and white hair that is streaked with gold. The patches of his robe are decorated with interlocking circles of white dots, while darker strips of fabric bear the repeated symbol of the Wheel of the Law. The folds of his robes, his rumpled leggings, and his sandals of woven straw are rendered with particular attention and skill.

To learn more about this and similar objects, visit http://www.asia.si.edu/SongYuan/default.asp Song and Yuan Dynasty Painting and Calligraphy.

Published References
  • Edward Theodore Chalmers Werner. A Dictionary of Chinese Mythology., 1st edition. Shanghai. pp. 259-79.
  • Henry Dore. Researches into Chinese Superstitions. 10 vols., Shanghai. pp. 332-87.
  • Zhongguo shuhuajia yinjian kuanzhi. 2 vols., Beijing. vol. 1: pp. 61-65, vol. 2: pp. 465-466, 655-658.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Song and Yuan Dynasty Painting and Calligraphy
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum