A carved ivory set of Eighteen Luohan Late Qing Dynasty
Lot 8011Y
A carved ivory set of Eighteen Luohan Late Qing Dynasty
Sold for US$ 658,000 inc. premium

Lot Details
A carved ivory set of Eighteen Luohan Late Qing Dynasty A carved ivory set of Eighteen Luohan Late Qing Dynasty A carved ivory set of Eighteen Luohan Late Qing Dynasty A carved ivory set of Eighteen Luohan Late Qing Dynasty A carved ivory set of Eighteen Luohan Late Qing Dynasty A carved ivory set of Eighteen Luohan Late Qing Dynasty A carved ivory set of Eighteen Luohan Late Qing Dynasty A carved ivory set of Eighteen Luohan Late Qing Dynasty A carved ivory set of Eighteen Luohan Late Qing Dynasty A carved ivory set of Eighteen Luohan Late Qing Dynasty A carved ivory set of Eighteen Luohan Late Qing Dynasty A carved ivory set of Eighteen Luohan Late Qing Dynasty A carved ivory set of Eighteen Luohan Late Qing Dynasty A carved ivory set of Eighteen Luohan Late Qing Dynasty A carved ivory set of Eighteen Luohan Late Qing Dynasty A carved ivory set of Eighteen Luohan Late Qing Dynasty A carved ivory set of Eighteen Luohan Late Qing Dynasty A carved ivory set of Eighteen Luohan Late Qing Dynasty A carved ivory set of Eighteen Luohan Late Qing Dynasty A carved ivory set of Eighteen Luohan Late Qing Dynasty A carved ivory set of Eighteen Luohan Late Qing Dynasty A carved ivory set of Eighteen Luohan Late Qing Dynasty A carved ivory set of Eighteen Luohan Late Qing Dynasty A carved ivory set of Eighteen Luohan Late Qing Dynasty A carved ivory set of Eighteen Luohan Late Qing Dynasty A carved ivory set of Eighteen Luohan Late Qing Dynasty A carved ivory set of Eighteen Luohan Late Qing Dynasty
Property from Various Owners
A carved ivory set of Eighteen Luohan
Late Qing Dynasty
Each realistically rendered in monastic dress and bearing an identifying implement, their heads individualized by lively and sometimes humorous expressions, differing patterns of facial hair and scalp stubble, the details subtly enhanced with black and polychrome washes; each supported on a wood stand with cloisonné enameled metal balustrades and wire inlay.
12 3/4in (32.5cm) height of tallest

Footnotes

  • For a very similar set of luohan, see the eighteen sold in Bonhams & Butterfields Sale 18412, December 13, 2010, lot 5011. See also the footnote to lot 8020 in this sale for a brief theological definition of a luohan.

    Establishing the individual identity of the eighteen figures remains controversial, as it has been since 1757. In that year the Qianlong emperor made a concerted effort with his guru, the Rolpay Dorje Hutuktu, to standardize the sixteen in the esoteric Tibetan tradition (and indeed most of the Buddhist world) with the eighteen portrayed by the Tang dynasty artist Guanxiu in the now-destroyed steles at the Shengyin temple in modern Hangzhou. In conjunction with this attempt the Dragon Tamer and the Tiger Tamer Luohan (Ch: jianglong luohan and fuhu luohan) were added. See Patricia Berger's Empire of Emptiness: Buddhist Art and Political Authority in Qing China (University of Hawaii, 2003).

    The variety of attributes and facial expressions in this set of luohan are more displays of the carver's technical virtuosity then they are of accurate religious iconography: two striking examples are the lion cub nipping at the distended earlobe of an obviously annoyed Vijraputra, and the intricately rendered Guanyin floating on tufts of ruyi-shaped clouds emerging from Nandimitra's raised pagoda.
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