Seated Buddha Shakyamuni, 965 or 1025. Gilt bronze, 8 1/2 × 7 1/4 × 4 3/4 in. (21.6 × 18.4 × 12.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum; Gift of the Asian Art Council in memory of Mahmood T. Diba and Mary Smith Dorward Fund, 1999.42. Creative Commons-BY. (Photo: Brooklyn Museum)
On January 21, 2022, the Brooklyn Museum will unveil a new gallery dedicated to the Arts of Buddhism collection, the latest in a series of new galleries for its Arts of Asia and the Islamic World collections. The installation, organized by Joan Cummins, Lisa and Bernard Selz Senior Curator, Asian Art, juxtaposes artworks from various regions and periods, with nearly seventy objects from fourteen countries dating from the second century C.E. to the early 2000s.
The Arts of Buddhism gallery serves as an introduction to the tenets and history of the Buddhist religion. Many of the works on display are sculptural depictions of Buddhas and other enlightened figures. Also included are ritual tools and ornaments made for use in Buddhist temples as well as a small selection of paintings. Among the objects newly on view are several of the Museum’s masterpieces, including a rare eighth-century image of the goddess Tara from Odisha, India; a Chinese silver reliquary dedicated by a Buddhist monk and his mother; and a gilt-bronze seated Buddha from southern China. There are also at least nineteen objects that have never before been on display at the Museum. As part of the inaugural installation of the gallery, a pair of important Japanese mandala paintings, dating to the fourteenth century, will be on view for the first time in twenty-five years.
The Arts of Buddhism gallery joins the suite of galleries for Arts of Asia and the Islamic World, located on the Museum’s second floor, which also includes galleries for Arts of Korea, China, Japan, and Southeast Asia. Later in 2022, the Museum will unveil galleries for Arts of the Himalayas, Arts of the Islamic World, and Arts of South Asia. These galleries are part of a multi-year project to modernize the Museum’s second floor, which features state-of-the-art casework and lighting and which reflects extensive curatorial research and conservation.