Japanese Gallery (Honkan) Room T5
July 27, 2007 (Fri) - November 3, 2009 (Tue)
This display traces the development of Buddhist statues from Gandhara (Ancient India), China, the Korean Peninsula, and Japan to provide insights about how Buddhist beliefs and statues developed in each region.
Buddhism is a religion based on the teachings, known as dharma, of Prince Siddhartha Gautama, who lived in India around the 5th century B.C. He attained "Enlightenment" and became Sakyamuni Buddha when he was 35, and spent the rest of his life teaching his insights to others. After his death, his followers continued to practice and spread his teachings. Following his cremation, the Buddha's ashes and relics, known as sarira, were deposited in stupas, originally mound-like structures. Buddhist art developed when stupas were decorated with reliefs that depicted stories of Buddha and other designs.
Initially, Buddha was not presented as a human figure. This changed around the 1st century A.D. and Buddhists began to worship the statues. Over time, Buddhism spread to other areas, where statues were crafted and worshipped in various forms.