in traditional monks robe, seated in an easy posture (lalitasna) on a double cushion
incised with floral patterns, this heavily gilded small statue of an arhat is
remarkably robust. He is seen here with his crisp facial features, raised eyebrows
and sharply round eyes. From the finely modeled clothing to minute details in
the arhat's fingers and toes, its superb artistry indicates quality which was
most likely produced for awarding the sixteen Lharampa degrees in Gelugpa scholarstic
achivements during the 18th century.
is no doubt that this is one of the 18 arhats frequently portrayed in Buddhist
art. However, since the statue has lost its attribute, it is difficult to verify
his identity for certain. Judging from the overall impression: the position of
his right hand suggests that he may had once held a vajra, and in his left the
gesture of tajra mudra, which symbolizes conquering five obscuring emotions. With
these iconographic symbols in mind, we tentatively attributed the statue to be
Vajriputra, which in Tibetan means "Son of Dorje Mo", the fifth arhat who was
known to lived in Sri Lanka with 1000 disciples.