Luohan Laundering

Artist: Lin Tinggui 林庭桂 (active late 12th century)
Historical period(s)
Southern Song dynasty, 1178
Ink and color on silk
H x W (image): 112.3 x 53.5 cm (44 3/16 x 21 1/16 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll (mounted on panel)

Buddhism, China, landscape, Mahayana Buddhism, pine tree, river, Southern Song dynasty (1127 - 1279), washing

To 1894
The Daitoku-ji Temple, Kyoto, to 1894 [1]

From 1894 to 1902
Ernest Francisco Fenollosa (1853-1908), Japan, Boston, New York, NY, and Spring Hill, AL, given by the Daitoku-ji while at Museum of Fine Art, Boston, in 1894 [2]

From 1902 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Ernest Francisco Fenollosa in 1902 [3]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [4]


[1] See Curatorial Remarks, Fu Shen and Stephen Allee, Excerpt Exhibition Label Text, May 1993. See also, Object Documentation, Song and Yuan Dynasty Painting and Calligraphy ( This object exhibits seals, colophons, or inscriptions that could provide additional information regarding the object’s history; see Curatorial Remarks in the object record for further details.

[2] See note 1. In 1894 Ernest Francisco Fenollosa arranged a special exhibition in which forty-four Daitoku-ji paintings were shown at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. As an expression of gratitude for his help organizing the exhibition, the Daitoku-ji presented one of the forty-four paintings to Fenollossa, who subsequently sold it to Charles L. Freer in 1902.

[3] See Original Kakemono and Makimono List, L. 281, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[4] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Daitoku-ji, Kyoto
Ernest Francisco Fenollosa (C.L. Freer source) 1853-1908
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919


Illustrating a scene from the daily life of Buddhist monks, this painting belongs to a set of one hundred hanging scrolls depicting the five hundred luohan, or Buddhist saints. The set of paintings was commissioned by a Buddhist abbot in 1175 and completed by Lin Tinggui and another painter three years later. The paintings were transported to Japan in the thirteenth century and eventually became the property of the Daitokuji, a Buddhist temple in Kyoto. In 1894 the Daitokuji, in need of funds for repairs, exhibited forty-four of the scrolls in Boston, where 10 of the paintings were sold. The Japanese presented this painting in gratitude to the tour's American organizer, who sold it in 1902 to Charles Lang Freer.

Lin Tinggui painted the six figures with precise outlines and bright, opaque colors. The five luohan and their servant are shown washing their clothes and hanging them out to dry.  Written in gold and almost completely invisible, a signed inscription by the artist appears in the lower right corner.

To learn more about this and similar objects, visit Song and Yuan Dynasty Painting and Calligraphy.

Published References
  • Daisy Yiyou Wang. Charles Lang Freer and the collecting of Chinese Buddhist art in early-twentieth-century America. vol. 28, no. 3. .
  • Thomas Lawton. "画中人 上海书画出版社." Chinese Figure Painting. Shanghai, China. .
  • Hiraoka Hisayo. Cosmopolitan's Obituary:
    Fenollosa and his two wives
    . Japan. .
  • Wen C. Fong. Art as History: Calligraphy and Painting as One. Princeton. .
  • The Daitokuji: 500 Luohans. .
  • Derek Gillman. The Idea of Cultural Heritage. Leicester, UK. fig. 13.
  • Hai wai i chen [Chinese Art in Overseas Collections]. Taipei, 1985. vol. 1: no. 61.
  • Untitled. vol. 14, no. 4 Taipei. pl. 14.
  • William Watson. The Art of Dynastic China. New York, 1981. ill. 473.
  • Dr. John Alexander Pope, Harold P. Stern, Thomas Lawton. Freer Gallery of Art: China. Tokyo. pl. 41.
  • Karl Debreczeny. The Black Hat Eccentric: Artistic Visions of the Tenth Karmapa. .
  • Wen C. Fong. The Lohans and a Bridge to Heaven. vol. 3, no. 1 Washington, 1958. pl. 2.
  • Dr. John Alexander Pope, Thomas Lawton, Harold P. Stern. The Freer Gallery of Art. 2 vols., Washington and Tokyo, 1971-1972. cat. 41, vol. 1: p. 158.
  • Masterpieces of Chinese and Japanese Art: Freer Gallery of Art handbook. Washington, 1976. p. 49.
  • Vittorio Di Martino, Roswitha Di Martino. L'esprit du Fer a Repasser. Turquant. p. 91.
  • Thomas Lawton. Chinese Figure Painting. Exh. cat. Washington, 1973. cat. 18, pp. 94-97.
  • Thomas Lawton. China's Artistic Legacy. vol. 118, no. 258 London, August 1983. p. 128.
  • Thomas Lawton, Linda Merrill. Freer: a legacy of art. Washington and New York, 1993. p. 141, fig. 94.
  • Paths to Perfection, Buddhist Art at the Freer/Sackler. Washington. pp. 164-165.
  • Suzuki Kei. Chugoku kaiga sogo zuroku [Comprehensive Illustrated Catalog of Chinese Painting]. 5 vols., Tokyo, 1982-1983. p. 250.
  • Gregory Levine. Daitokuji: The Visual Cultures of a Zen Monastery. Seattle. p. 289, fig. 130.
  • Abingdon Dictionary of Living Religions. Nashville. p. 435.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Song and Yuan Dynasty Painting and Calligraphy
Google Cultural Institute
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