Harvard Art Museums – Room 2740
Art From Us, Museum Guide #885
Art From Us presents a must-see Museum Guide daily, where we showcase specific artworks in specific museums – from across the globe. Today, for Art From Us, Museum Guide #885 the spotlight is on the Harvard Art Museums’ Room 2740. Showcasing a collection of The Efflorescence of East Asian and Buddhist Art.
The three works in focus are :
Virūdhaka (Zōchōten), Guardian King of the South, one of the Devarâjas (Shitennō), or Four Heavenly Guardian Kings, Heian Period, c. 1075
Left Hand of a Colossal Amida Buddha, Attributed to Kaikei, Kamakura period, 1185-1333
Kneeling Attendant Bodhisattva (from Mogao Cave 328, Dunhuang, Gansu province), late 7th century
The significance of the 3 works chosen for Art From Us, Museum Guide #885
According to the digital catalogue of the Harvard Art Museums :
“Introduced to China in the first century, Buddhism promised its adherents ultimate escape from existential suffering. It also offered ritual techniques for achieving present-world benefits, such as military victory and relief from disease. Treating both immediate and ultimate ills, Buddhism was already flourishing in China by the fourth and fifth centuries, when it was transmitted to Korea and Japan.”
The practice of Buddhism spread far and wide in South East Asia and its impact was also seen on the cultural output of the region. Artists and craftsmen borrowed motifs and took inspiration from the story of Buddhism and of Buddha. With the passage of time, these craftsmen refined their technique. Oftentimes, their art was then put up in places of worship.
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