This thangka shows the rare motif of Buddha Shakyamuni in union with Tsongkhapa, throning above him, at the center of the vivid scenery depicting the legend of Hvashang returning to China with the 16 Arhats by crossing the ocean. The Arhats are accompanied by their attendant Dharmata and in the foreground we see the four heavenly kings of the cardinal directions guiding them. Next to the kings is a boat where inside Hvashang is seated with some servants at his side.
The painting is executed with much attention for detail, at the wavy sea we find countless auspicious objects and very fine gold paint inscription. Inscriptions to backside as well.
According to legend within the Tibetan book, Inviting the Arhats, Hvashang was sent to India by a Chinese Tang emperor to invite the sixteen great arhats so that they may transmit Buddhism throughout China and Tibet.
Shape: Rectangular vertical shape
Dimensions: 62x 41 cm (painting size), 119 x 73 cm (mounting)
Condition: The painting is in overall good condition with some creases and abrasions. One small burn on the backside has resulted in a small tear (hardly noticeable). The mount is in fine condition as well
Provenance: Hungarian Private Collection
Literature comparison: Himalayan Art Resources online archive shows a series of works related to the subject in the article ‘Arhats: Travelling to China’
Auction result comparison: Bonham’s, INDIAN, HIMALAYAN & SOUTHEAST ASIAN ART
14 March 2016, NEW YORK, lot 40 (for an 18th century thangka with the same motif).