This figure would likely have belonged to a set of sixteen or eighteen figures, each representing a different luohan with his distinguishing features. Other related stoneware figures of luohan include one sold at Sotheby's New York, 4 December 1984, lot 116, and two other related figures sold at Christie's: the first in Hong Kong, 2 November 1999, lot 766, and the second in New York, 26 March 2010, lot 1238. A stoneware figure, dated late Ming (1368-1644) or early Qing (1644-1911) dynasty, 17th-18th century, and with a TL test date of 1600-1800 C.E., in The Metropolitan Museum of Art collection, is illustrated by D. Leidy and D. Strahan in Wisdom Embodied: Chinese Buddhist and Daoist Sculpture in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2010, p. 185, no. A65.
Each of these figures is roughly the same size, are all high-fired and have been cold painted with colored pigments. The close similarity in the sizes of the figures, and the style of the drapery, may suggest these figures all belonged to the same set.
The figure sold in 1984 was dated to the Song dynasty at the time of sale, while the figure sold in 1999 was dated Ming dynasty or earlier, and the figure sold in 2010 was dated Song-Ming dynasty, 12th-16th century. Current scholarship suggests a Ming dynasty date, 16th-17th century, is appropriate for these figures.
Oxford thermoluminescence test no. C110n22 is consistent with the dating of this lot.