Standing Mahākāśyapa

Ming dynasty
Arhats & Disciples
Height 174.5 cm

This statue portrays a Luohan with a round shaven head, ears with thick elongated lobes, closely knitted eyebrows with drooping ends, an intensely and deeply wrinkled face, and a lean figure. This statue of an aged bhikṣu should be representing the Venerable Mahākāśyapa.

He has an ūrṇā in the middle of his forehead, thin broad lips with down-turned corners, and a placid countenance suggesting deep contemplation. The knife marks on the face indicate deep and vigorous engraving. The eye sockets are gravely sunken and the lip corners deeply indented. Several finely incised parallel lines are executed on the face to highlight the loose texture of his sagging, aged skin. Both his head and body are slightly inclining forward. He wears a wide-sleeved loose-fitting robe over a dress with out-turned collar, a floor-length skirt and a pair of monk’s shoes. He is standing upon a lotus pedestal, with hands cupped in front of the chest. The drapery is neatly rendered but the folds slightly lack fluidity. The body contours are all hidden under the thick garment.

Overall speaking, the facial expression, this statue’s skin and muscles are delicately rendered. But the treatment of the garment is a bit rough, reflecting much effort had been made to vivify the demeanour and charm of Ming Luohan statues. The aged, yet wise appearance of Mahākāśyapa also indicates an appropriate treatment of the subject.