Eighteen individual blanc du chine porcelain Luohan or Arhats (i.e. the disciples of Buddha) each bearing the mark and style of the Chinese maker Zeng Longsheng.
The Eighteen Luohan are the original followers of Gautama Buddha who have followed the Noble Eightfold Path to obtain enlightenment and a state of Nirvana. They are depicted in Mahayana Buddhism as the guardians of the Buddhist faith. The Luohan were first painted by monk Guan Xiu in 891 AD. They appeared to the monk in a dream to request that he paint their portraits with all very distinctive qualities highlighting their role and lives. The Qianlong Emperor saw these paintings in 1757 and wrote a eulogy for each Luohan. Each Luohan has different qualities and stories that have brought good fortune and examples to the Buddhist tradition for centuries.