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A Lacquered Stone Lohan Head


Height: 27.3 cm. (10 3/4 in.)

Northern Song dynasty
11th-12th century

Published: Kaikodo Journal XV (Spring 2000), no. 67.

A wide forehead and smoothly shaved pate, a rounded fleshy face with plump cheeks and chin, downcast eyes, full lips suggesting a smile, elongated earlobes, an expression serene and endearing. The stunning similarity of this image to the head of a bronze figure of the bodhisattva Dizang from the Wanfou Pagoda in Jinhua, Zhejiang, dated to 1056-1063 of the Northern Song period supports a Northern Song date of production for the present piece. (See Zhongguo meishu quanji diaosu bian, vol. 5, Beijing, 1988, pl. 61, p. 63). Dizang, who is said to have been a young female before the momentous spiritual transformation, is revered in Japan as Jizo Bosatsu, caretaker of children, infants, and the unborn. Perhaps that is the source of the semi-feminine character, affable, comforting, benevolent, shared by these figures.




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