Wednesday, 25. July 2007
Visions of Enlightenment: Understanding the Art of Buddhism
Korea received Buddhism from China in the 4th century A.D. With the faith came Chinese Buddhist images, and throughout much of Korea's history, Korean Buddhist images have been influenced by Chinese models.
As can be seen in this gilt bronze figure, Korean figures of the Buddha tend to be simple in form and decoration, and the Buddha's robes fall with rhythmic folds. In many Korean Buddha figures, including this example, the head is slightly oversized in relation to the body, and the face is broad and slightly squared. Their faces generally appear gentle and calm, and they often display a slight smile, often called the "enigmatic" smile of the Buddha.
One notable feature of this image is the reverse of the swastika, called a sauvastika, on his chest. In Buddhism, the swastika is the symbol of the Buddha's universality and is believed to contain within it the whole mind of the Buddha.
|Even before his birth, his mother and father knew Prince Siddhartha would be remarkable. After all, his father was the king of the Sakya clan in Nepal. His mother, Queen Maya, had strange dreams of a white elephant while she was pregnant, and her son was born out of her right side as she stood grasping a teak tree branch in her right hand. |
Buddhist art in Nepal often shows images of the Buddha in addition to bodhisattvas and other Buddhist deities. The Newari metalworkers of the Kathmandu Valley produced fine metalwork like this piece, often with gilt embellishment and inlaid with gems. Like Tibetan thangkas, this object served as an aid to study and devotion.
The artworks soothe suffering, teach concepts, tell stories, aid meditation and prayer, and express devotion. Some are even designed to hasten release from the cycle of samsara, the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth.
Visions of Enlightenment: Understanding the Art of Buddhism provides educational resources that explore masterpieces of Buddhist art in the collection of the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena, California.
Interactive in four parts:
• The Perfected One: The Buddha
• Compassionate Beings: Bodhisattvas, Deities,
Guartians, Holy Men
• Buddhist Places
• Signs, Symbols, Ritual Objects
• An interactive Timeline and Map
• Multimedia Photo Essays
• Interactive Objects with Details
• A Fact or Fiction game
Have fun and explore!
Available as Flash and/or HTML version.
Eye Candy !
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