Japanese image to interpret - samurai with religious figures


Forum Staff
Apr 2010
T'Republic of Yorkshire
A friend has told me that the haloed figures are Theravada saints called Lohan in Chinese and Rakan in Japanese (there are apparently 18 of them, all rather different, of whom eleven are shown on the side of the bowl), and the female-looking figure is Guanyin, I'm not sure of the Japanese name. No help, though, on the non-haloed figures.All of this is an entirlely foreign world to me! I found this which is quite informative on the first lot:
I wasn't familiar with the term "Lohan", but I knew them as arhats. I'm not sure where they sit in relation to Japanese Buddhism, as Japan is a Mahayana Buddhist country.

Guanyin is known as Kannon in Japanese, or Kannon Bosatsu, with bosatsu being the term for a Buddha.

Given the hairstyles, the two unhaloed figures are either non-Japanese or earlier Japanese historical figures. Jimmu Tenno springs to mind. Some depictions of him are on the Wiki article:
Emperor Jimmu - Wikipedia