Chinese, 19 th century
6 1/4 inches high
The starving Lohan is symbolic of the human being who can meditate in peace for weeks on end without eating, as if to sacrifice all that is essential on earth for the higher purpose of tranquil meditation. The starving Lohan needs nothing, wants nothing. He is gentle, knowing, aware, humble and wise beyond all others. Contemporary men like Gandhi took from the legendary Lohan figures their ability to fast for many days in order to reach nirvana and/or to attain a certain goal. The starving Lohan is a popular figure in Japanese and Chinese cultures.
In this bronze sculpture of a Starving Lohan , notice that the Lohan's face is pleasant, contemplative and at peace, while his body is bony – almost skeletal. Despite the fact he is fasting and extremely thin, the Lohan contemplates nature and survives in a near perfect psychological state (nirvana).