Past Exhibitions

Luohan: Chinese Paintings of Arhats
July 7, 2015 - August 9, 2015

The term luohan is a Chinese transliteration of the Sanskrit word arhat, which means "one who is worthy." In Buddhism, this term refers to a superior being who has undergone training and attained enlightenment but nevertheless chooses to remain with sentient beings on earth to bring them happiness and enlightenment. The worship of arhats was especially popular in China. Paintings of arhats might show them performing various miracles—exhibiting distinctly and endearingly human characteristics even while bedecked in Buddhist splendor.
During the medieval period, Chinese images of arhats began to be imported into Japan, where they served as prototypes for Japanese rakan paintings, some of which are currently on exhibit in the Buddhist Painting gallery. Together, these exhibitions provide a rare opportunity to compare some of the greatest surviving masterworks from both China and Japan.

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