In this gallery (click here), there are some 250 photos that I
took this year while traveling around Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai and
Lanzhou. I have to confess that I know little about Buddhist
culture; I simply found myself submerged in the beauty of
A few of the images were familiar to me but some seemed bizarre and
strange. I have little knowledge about the history of
these figures so it is impossible for me to explain and classify
them. It's also difficult for me to tell their origin or why they
look and act as they do.
What can I do is simply publishing them in different catalogues
according to the museums in which they are showcased. Also, I
have tried to copy the placards beside them in museums, hoping that
this information can help, or give hints, for you to understand
If you want to know more about Chinese Buddhism, and if you are
lucky enough to be in New York at the same time, here is some good
news: as I am opening up my show in this gallery, an ongoing
exhibition is also opening in New York City. "Buddhist Sculpture
from China: Selections from the Xi'an Beilin Museum" continues
through Dec. 8 at the China Institute, 125 East 65th Street,
Manhattan: (212) 744-8181, chinainstitute.org.
I have the same wish as Holland Cotter, the New York curator. He
wrote, "With this show, we have a chance to get to know them, ask
questions of them, look at them, and look again. Their version of
beauty won't change with time, but our beholding eyes
Beijing Capital Museum
(Click for larger pictures)
Review: The museum features some 150 Buddhist works of art
ranging from the 5th through the 20th centuries. Most of them are
gilt bronze sculptures emitting golden luster under muted lamps and
a somber background. The museum hosts a special exhibition of
Buddha figurines from Tibetan and Mongolian regions and many of
them were made under imperial edicts. Full Text...
Review: The exhibition hall on the first
floor holds many Buddhist statues. Most of these lifelike
sculptures are carved in stone while some of the fine gilded
figures are made of copper and bronze. They illustrate the pomp and
ceremonial aspects of Buddhism in Chang'an, the ancient name for
Xi'an. Full Text...
Review: The Gallery of Chinese Ancient Sculptures serves
mainly as a showcase of over 120 Buddhist sculptures, placed in
shrine-like displays and framed with lotus-petal shaped partitions,
or standing alone on pedestals. These display methods blend to lend
a veritable temple feeling to the hall and plunge the audience into
a world where art and religion intertwine. Full Text...
Review: Gansu was one of first areas in
China that received Buddhism. Monks acted as vital links,
protecting, revering and passing on Buddhist culture. Since the
Sixteen Kingdoms period, a large number of temples and pagodas have
been constructed in the area. Full Text...
Shaanxi Provincial History Museum
Review: The museum successfully
represents the great extent of Shaanxi history and its remarkable
culture as well as the most flourishing period of feudal glory, the
Tang Dynasty; however, it only houses a dozen Buddhist sculptures.
For the past few decades, the museum was considered one of the most
attractive museums in China, but many newly built or newly
renovated museums reveal its outmoded exhibition design and
technology by comparison. Full Text...
Gansu Provincial Museum
(China.org.cn by Wang Zhiyong November 20, 2007)