Antique Large Lohan, Probably Bodhidharma, China (16436B-WHKE) $7300


H: 27.5”  W: 12.75”  D: 9.75” | FOR SHIPPING INFORMATION CONTACT US AT 213-568-3030

This exceptional, masterfully crafted, rare Ming or early Qing woodcarving is an image of the heavily bearded lohan Bodhidharma. As it is similar in size, robes and carving style as the wooden lohan (16436A), it is likely carved by the same artist and displayed among other lohan together. Both images display brilliant treatment of the bone structure, facial features and elaborate natural drapery of the robes and have wonderful warm patina with much of the original lacquer and polychrome remaining.




The original 16 or18 arhats in Theravada Buddhism later called lohans in Mahayana Buddhism were the original disciples of Gautama Buddha. Able to attain enlightenment and enter nirvana, instead they remained on earth to aid Buddhist devotees to reach nirvana. Buddhist temples are often lined with 18 lohan but there may be many more. Never on main altars, they are worshipped individually or as a group and are rarely offered prayers other than the incense placed before them. This striking and masterfully crafted antique Chinese woodcarving portrays a hooded, heavily bearded lohan, likely Bodhidharma. As he wears very similar robes, is about the same size and style and our supplier said these two pieces were found together, this was likely made by the same carver as 16436A. Both images are brilliant in the treatment of the bone structure, facial features and the elaborate natural drapery of the robe and this one has a very realistically carved beard. He sits in meditation (dhyana) and wears the monks robes of a Lohan indicated by the ring at the shoulder to which the robe is attached and used only for lohans. The hands are together in the lap covered by long sleeves, the eyes are lowered in deep meditation and the head is covered with a hood extending over his shoulders and back. Born in India and credited with bringing Chan Buddhism (Zen) to China, he and was the first patriarch of the Chinese Zen lineage. A heavily bearded foreigner, he is called the “The Blue-Eyed Barbarian” in Chan texts. Although Theravada monks were required to shave their head and beard,  Mahayana Buddhists were permitted beards, especially after being ordained. According to Japanese myth, he is credited with creating the tea plant. While meditating, he fell asleep and was so disturbed by his misdeed he tore off his eyelids and threw them on the ground and when they hit the ground, the first tea plants sprang up and was a stimulant to keep Zazen students awake. He is often portrayed with eyes unnaturally wide open and often  as an irritable person. He is also credited with the creation of Shaolin kungfu. As seen in the back, the statue was originally covered with red paint, much of which remains. The back cavity indicates it was consecrated. We recommending displaying them together.

Click here for the Blog Consecrating Wooden Images to Imbue Them with A Life Force


Buddha Dharma Education Association, Popular Deities in Chinese Buddhism.


Additional information

Place of Origin



Antique, Ming/Qing

Materials and Technique


Dimensions (inches)

Ht: 27.5” W: 12.75” D: 9.75”

Dimensions (metric)

Ht: 69.85cm W: 32.38cm D: 24.76cm


Excellent, fine patina demonstrating age and use

Item Number


Shipping Box Size