The 18 Louhan monks or arhats are part of the Buddhist Mahayana sect and are considered to be the original monks who followed the Buddhist teachings. They attained all 4 stages of enlightenment as they followed the Eightfold Path of Buddha. Considered to have attained nirvana, they are given the duty of waiting for a reincarnation of Buddha to appear on the earth as Maitreya, a prophesied Buddha.
Due to the close religious symbolism associated with the 18 Louhan monks, these are extremely popular as a subject in art in China and Japan. Today these set of 18 mammoth ivory Louhans have become a popular collectible set which is much coveted world over. The earliest mention of the Louhan in art is traced to891 AD in a painting by a monk, Guan Xiu in China. It is said that the 18 Louhan monks appeared to him in a dream and he painted them accordingly. They feature large eyes, bushy eyebrows and high noses apart from looking as vagabonds, which is a symbolic representation of renouncing worldly desires.
Today the collection of 18 Louhan set is a coveted collection especially the ones carved in pure mammoth tusk ivory. These delicate yet intrinsically carved monks are each sculpted in a different position and action, adding variety to the figurines. If you have been searching for exquisitely carved mammoth tusk ivory 18 Louhan set, you need to check out the variety available at http://www.mammothivory.info