Title:The Five Hundred LohansArtist:Artist UnknownDate:1736-1795Creation Place:Asia, ChinaCredit Line:The John R. Van Derlip FundAccession Number:42.8.343
This extremely fine silk weaving illustrates the five hundred Buddhist deities known as lohans. The handscroll can be divided into nine pictorial segments, each reflecting one of nine poems which deal with Buddhist subjects such as the Buddha descending from Western Paradise, the proclaiming of the Law and the enlightenment of the universe. In spite of the Buddhist theme, however there is a great deal of Taoist mythology incorporated into the activities of the numerous lohans who populate the paradise setting. This remarkable work originally belonged to the Ch'ien-lung emperor and the beginning of the scroll displays three of his nine imperial seals.