The superb casting and style of this figure is very similar to that of two other gilt-bronze figures of luohans dated to the Song dynasty and sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 1 October 1991, lot 1668. One of these figures is that of an older man, while the other is a younger man. It is the latter figure which is the most similar to the present luohan. Another related figure is illustrated by Hajek, Chinesische Kunst in Tschechoslowakischen Museen, Prague, 1954, no. 115. The author, p. 43, notes the similarity between this and ceramic and wood sculptures of the period. All of these figures share a similarity in the fluid execution of the drapery and the naturalism of the facial features (almost portrait-like). It is possible that all of these figures may have come from the same set.
In other media, Wenu 1994:3, pp. 76-82, records the discovery at Lingyan Temple, Chengqing Xien, Shandong province, of some forty figures of luohan, all dated to the Song period, but of smaller size. In their animated gestures, quality of portraiture and the treatment of the fluid folds of drapery at the front they bear resemblance to the present figure.