Carved to depict The Eighteen Arhats, each with a different face, the pendant with a double gourd surrounded by leaves and tendrils. In Mahayana Buddhism, The Eighteen Arhats are the original followers of Buddha, who went on the Eightfold Path and attained the Four Stages of Enlightenment. They are charged to protect the Buddhist faith and to await Maitreya, the enlightened Buddha, to arrive on earth many millennia after Gautama Buddha’s death and nirvana. In China, The Eighteen Arhats are also a popular subject in Buddhist art, such as the famous Chinese group of glazed pottery Luohans from Yixian of about 1000.
Dimensions: Height of each bead between 1.3 and 1.8 cm., height of pendant 5.3 cm., length of rosary 51 cm.
Condition: Excellent condition, string and clasp are recent
Provenance: Japanese private collection
Literature comparison: Bonham’s, FINE ASIAN WORKS OF ART, 27 Jun 2017, San Francisco, lot 8078 (for an “eight immortal” rosary carved of the same material)