This large figure of a luohan (or arhat) is seated in vajraparyankasana with rippled, free-flowing robes and a dhoti tied just below the chest. He appears strong and powerful with aggressive, bulging eyes depicting his passionate and aggressive nature. The right hand in a buddhashramana mudra (ascetic’s gesture of renunciation) and the left hand is in avakasha mudra (the gesture of leisure).
It must be noted he luohan is likely to have his attributes missing. From the placement of the hands, the figure may have represented the luohan Subhinda, who was a venerable sage grasping a scroll in his right hand and seated in a meditative posture. Subhinda was the fourth of eighteen arhats who was known for remembering every word of every sutra after reciting it only once.
From a Private American Collection
An 81cm example of the Luohan Rahula – dated to the Song dynasty – was sold in Christie’s New York, 21st March 2002, Lot 53
Another gilt-bronze luohan of similar proportion and style (86.4cm) dated Song to Yuan dynasty, was published in Christie’s New York, 21st March 2000, Lot 159