Images of luohan, the enlightened semi-historical followers of the Buddha, became exceedingly popular in China from the Tang period onwards. Because they were often depicted in groups of at least 16 (and sometimes over 100), artists began to imbue the different luohan with individualized or distinguishing characteristics. While the identity of the present figure isn't clear, the 'sleeping' or 'meditating' arhat was a known type from the Song dynasty. Compare with an example at the Museum Rietberg and illustrated by Osvald Sirén in Chinesiche Skulpturen, Museum Rietberg, Zurich, 1959, p. 155, no. 59.