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HOME : Chinese Art : Ming Dynasty : Ming Wooden Sculpture of Arhat Asita
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Ming Wooden Sculpture of Arhat Asita - HK.2027
Origin: China
Circa: 1368 AD to 1644 AD
Dimensions: 43" (109.2cm) high x 27" (68.6cm) wide
Collection: Chinese
Medium: Wood

Additional Information: Hong Kong

Location: UAE
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This is a wooden sculpture of Asita, one of the sixteen Arhats who were disciples of Buddha Shakyamuni. With distinctive white long eyebrows, he is conventionally depicted as the oldest Arhat. In this sculpture, Asita is seated in relaxed posture, holding his eyebrow in his right hand. The bump on his forehead symbolises wisdom, pertaining to his status as an Arhat. His robe is delicately depicted, as reflected by the realistic folds.

Asita in Sanskrit means incomparably proper, or of correct proportions in spirit and physique. According to legend, Asita was born with two long white eyebrows. The story was that in his previous life he was a monk who, though having tried very hard yet could not attain enlightenment even at a ripe old age and had only two long white eyebrows left. In Asita’s next life, his father was told that Shakyamuni Buddha also has two long eyebrows, therefore his son had the look of the Buddha in him. As a result, Asita was sent away to a monastery to become a monk, eventually attaining enlightenment.

The artistic style of this sculpture resembles that of Mid-Ming period. During the Yongle and Xuande era, Buddhist figures had a relatively slender and less bulky physique, as this Asita Arhat sculpture demonstrates. The sculpture has reasonable traces of aging, while hints of gold paint are marginally visible. - (HK.2027)


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