Paradise and Plumage:
Chinese Connections in Tibetan Arhat Painting

By the fourteenth century, Tibetan artists were very much aware of Chinese painting traditions and motifs. Over the course of several centuries, there were regular exchanges between the courts at the imperial capitals of China and the religious centers of Tibet. Integrating the gnarled landscapes, fantastic fauna, and distinctive brushwork of Chinese paintings, Tibetan depictions of Arhats (early Indian disciples of the Buddha) clearly exhibit the artistic consequences of this cultural exchange. Likewise, by the fifteenth century, Chinese court painters were themselves producing exquisite sets of Arhat paintings that echoed traditional Tibetan compositions. Illustrating this artistic interchange, Paradise and Plumage: Chinese Connections in Tibetan Arhat Painting featured Chinese and Tibetan versions of identical compositions and juxtaposed paintings and objects of the fourteenth through eighteenth centuries from China and Tibet.

The work brought together for this unique visual investigation included tangka paintings, Chinese hanging scrolls, album leaves, porcelain ceramics, scholars’ rocks, and semiprecious treasure offerings such as coral and turquoise.

An accompanying catalogue with large color plates and texts by Professor Rob Linrothe is available.

Exhibition Name
Paradise and Plumage:
Chinese Connections in Tibetan Arhat Painting
Exhibition Type
Faculty Curated
Group Exhibitions
Malloy Wing
Sep 25, 2004 - Jan 02, 2005
This exhibition is curated by Rob Linrothe, Associate Professor of Art History, Skidmore College, and organized in collaboration with the Rubin Museum of Art, New York.
Shen Jun, Bian Lu, Cai Shan (attributed to), Wu Weiqian (attributed to)
Pattern by Emma Fritschel ’19
Inspired by the exhibition Twice Drawn
The Tang Pattern Project celebrates the Museum’s 20th anniversary. Organized by Head of Design Jean Tschanz-Egger, past and current Tang Design Interns created patterns inspired by the Museum’s exhibition and event history.