January 31 – April 19, 2009
According to tradition, Buddha was a spiritual being who attained enlightenment and shared his teachings, giving birth to Buddhism, an Asian religion practiced for centuries. Western audiences today recognize
certain iconographical elements as belonging to Buddha, such as distended earlobes and monk's robes. Yet, the depiction of the Buddha varies widely across countries and cultures, revealing differences in religious beliefs by region. The earliest images of Buddha, from Pakistan, depict the narrative of the enlightened one's life, while later images from Vietnam tend to illustrate Buddha as a pudgy toddler. This great variety of interpretations represents a rich inheritance that enhances our understanding of the cultures that created such devotional objects. Showcasing more than 40 images of the Buddha dating from the first millennium to modern times, this exhibition explores the breadth of Buddhist belief as elucidated through his depiction alone.
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Buddha is made possible by the generous support of the Neil Kreitman Foundation, Janice & Les Lederer, Anne & Malcolm McHenry, Pramila & Indru Kriplani and the Crocker Art Museum Members .