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" Desire and Devotion: Art From India, Nepal, and Tibet in the John and Berthe Ford Collection"
2001-10-20 until 2002-01-13
Walters Art Museum
USA United States of America
Desire and Devotion marks the first time that the noted collection is seen in its entirety. The 150 works of art on view range from renowned and widely exhibited works such as The Green Tara--a painting created in Indian style in the 11th century and now considered a cornerstone of Tibetan art--to a never-exhibited but extremely precious 18th-century Tibetan ritual box crafted of silver, gold, and turquoise, with depictions of demons who were aroused and then were destroyed by the recitation of magical sayings.
The Walters exhibition, curated by Hiram W. Woodward Jr., the Walters curator of Asian Art, focuses on the passions of desire and devotion, which are reflected in many of the most beautiful and important of the featured works, in order to explore the relationship between earthbound and sacred love in the Hindu and Buddhist art of India, Nepal, and Tibet.
Many of the works on view are seen to embody an insight that is foreign to much of Western thought: that is, that the yearnings and desires of every day life cannot easily be separated from the emotions that motivate humankind to spiritual heights. On the one hand, union with the divine is frankly characterized as having a sensuous character; on the other, the representation of physical union is viewed as merely a symbol of ultimate spiritual bliss.