Known in China as Damo and Daruma in Japan, he was the Indian born Buddhist monk who brought Zen Buddhism to China known there as Chan Buddhism near the beginning of the 6th century A.D. During Ming and early Qing Dynasties, his Indian heritage was represented in his images as a dark-skinned ‘barbarian’ master with a fierce expression and big rolling eyes under bushy eyebrows with a moustache, beard and hair under his lip. According to Japanese myth, he is also 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. The eyelids took root and sprouted the world’s first tea plant which explains the tea leaf’s shape and its invigorating effects.

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  • Antique Large Lohan, Probably Bodhidharma, China


    This beautifully crafted and rare antique 17-18th century Ming/Qing image portrays the heavily bearded Lohan Bodhidharma. Since it is similar to the Large Lohan with Hands in Reverence (16436A) in size, style and comparable robes, it is likely they both were part of the same group at the same religious site and carved by the same artist. Both images are brilliant in the treatment of physiognomy especially in the bone structure and facial features – his deeply and realistically carved beard and eyebrows and elaborate natural drapery of the robes. He is clearly non-Chinese and wears Lohans robes with the ceremonial shoulder ring. The hands are covered by long sleeves, eyes  lowered in deep meditation, and the head is covered with a cowl over his shoulders on the carvings front and back. As seen in the back, the statue was originally covered with red paint. The statue has a wonderful warm patina, is in excellent condition with much of the original red polychrome remaining, and some expected hairline cracks and paint losses due to its considerable age and use.  We feel strongly that both images should be displayed together as they were for centuries.



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