The exhibition titled “Encountering the Buddha: Art and Practice across Asia” is currently on view at the Smithsonian’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Washington, D.C.
The show highlights the role and function of art and place as central to Buddhist understanding and teachings. The selections of works on display are drawn from the Freer and Sackler collections of Buddhist art. It features more than 250 pieces from India to Indonesia and Afghanistan to Japan coupled with two immersive environments and integrated digital platforms. “Encountering the Buddha: Art and Practice across Asia” narrate the stories of Buddhist objects and artworks. It also describes the beings that they represent and the people who engaged with them, their ritual use, sacred power, and their beauty. The show examines the religion through a wide lens and looks at its diverse expressions through objects that are part of the Buddhist world and traditions. There are two experiential spaces in the exhibition as well. One centered on a public site and the other evoking a domestic shrine depicting the interplay of place and practice.
The Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art and the adjacent Arthur M. Sackler Gallery comprise as the United States’ museums of Asian art. It houses an impressive collection of Asian art featuring more than 40,000 objects ranging in time from the Neolithic to the present day. With a particular focus on Islamic art, Chinese jades, bronzes, and paintings and the art of the ancient Near East. It also contains works from Japan, ancient Egypt, South and Southeast Asia and Korea, as well as the Freer’s noted collection of works by American artist James McNeill Whistler. The Freer|Sackler is a part of the Smithsonian Institution.
“Encountering the Buddha: Art and Practice across Asia” runs from October 14, 2017, through November 29, 2020, at The Smithsonian’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, 1050 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20560, USA.
Click on the slideshow for a sneak peek at the exhibition.