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"Worlds of Transformation: Tibetan Art of Wisdom and Compassion"
2002-08-18 until 2002-10-27
Memphis Brooks Museum
Memphis, TN, USA United States of America

Tibetan faith in the progress of enlightenment in history was reinforced by and manifested in art, through narrative and image, as witnessed by the omnipresent icons of spiritual, rather than tribal, ancestors in tents, homes, monasteries, and temples. Since many of the Tibetan rural people were illiterate, their oral tradition, as well as a highly developed graphic portrayal of history, shaped the imagination. The icons in Worlds of Transformation: Tibetan Art of Wisdom and Compassion provide a pictorial record of the sacred history within which the Tibetan imagination finds its home.

Worlds of Transformation: Tibetan Art of Wisdom and Compassion presents Tibetan icon paintings, called tangkas, from the extensive collection of Shelley and Donald Rubin, one of the worlds premier holdings of Tibetan art. The works presented by the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art represent the principal categories of Tibetan Buddhist painting, while also including works that expand current scholarship, featuring a broad array of iconography, lineage lama portraits, and unknown examples of special forms based on particular liturgies.

The thirty sumptuously painted and exquisitely detailed works range in date from the mid-thirteenth to the early twentieth century and span the spectrum of Tibetan artistic schools. The exhibition is toured by Tibet House, New York, a cultural nonprofit dedicated to preserving the endangered civilization of Tibet, and curated by Marilyn M. Rhie and Robert A.F. Thurman, two leading scholars of Buddhist art and thought. Their groundbreaking catalogue presents an analysis of each painting in terms of iconography and religious meaning, style, regional lineage and sources. Each painting is reproduced in color and most are published in the catalogue for the first time. The catalogue will be on sale at the Brooks Museum Store. A free gallery talk will be given as part of the Brooks First Wednesday activities on September 4 at 6 p.m. Dr. Mark W. Muesse, associate professor of religious studies at Rhodes College, will introduce the intriguing world of Tibet through its religion and religious art. In his lecture, Dr. Muesse will discuss how Bon-po, Tibets indigenous religious tradition, and Vajrayana, the Buddhism of the Dalai Lama, has shaped and determined the regions artistic practices.

Tibets sacred paintings are a fascinating part of the great flourishing of Himalayan civilization. Arising from the Buddhist enlightenment movement, this highly sophisticated art seeks not only to delight the viewer, but also to move and inspire the heart and spirit of those who seek a deeper meaning for life.

Rakta Yamari
(item no. 8)
1600 - 1699
Sakya Lineage
56.52x41.91cm (22.25x16.50in)
Ground Mineral Pigment, Fine Gold Line on Cotton
Collection of Shelley & Donald Rubin

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