Bardo is defined as the intermediate state between death and rebirth in Vajrayana Buddhism. It is believed that upon death, one enters a state in which both peaceful and wrathful deities appear in visions. Preparation for this moment throughout one's life entails meditation and deep study of the representations one will see in these visions.
The paintings represented in this exhibition are examples of works used as meditation tools among Vajrayana Buddhists to contemplate their imminent encounter with death. In Bardo, images of deities are shown on painted scrolls (thankgas), statues and two three-dimensional mandalas that display the interior and outer parts of the palace in which these deities are believed to inhabit. The exhibition is configured with design elements of a Buddhist temple (lha khang) with two side chapels, one for peaceful, the other for wrathful gods (mgon khang, shrine room of protector deities, where elements include paintings with black backgrounds, masks etc.).
Approximate Number of Works: 25 including paintings and sculpture
Female Buddhas presents an appraisal of the feminine in Tibetan Buddhism and an overview of its prominence in Tibetan art. It abounds with buddhas, bodhisattvas, and meditational deities whose divinity is framed as distinctly feminine.
The sacred art of the Himalayas draws upon the genre of esoteric literature known as Tantra, religious scriptures that specialize in practical philosophy, meditation techniques, and physical yoga. These manuals are best understood as revelation, teachings that are transmitted to particular people at particular times in history.
The works of art brought together here depict female aspects of divinity within various Tantric systems of understanding. Through these works of art, the universal goddess emerges, in her multiple forms, beatific and horrific.
Approximate Number of Works: 30-40 including paintings and sculpture
Rubin Museum of Art
New York, NY
June 4, 2005-January 15, 2006
Oglethorpe University Museum of Art
September 15, 2002-February 16, 2003
July 2-October 16, 2005
Crow Collection of Asian Art
February 8-August 26, 2007
Patron and Painter: Situ Panchen and the Revival of the Encampment Style
Of all the Tibetan painting traditions, the Encampment style (Gardri) drew the most heavily on Chinese painting. It was established by the Tibetan painter Namkha Tashi in the court of the Ninth Karmapa (1555-1603) during the second half of the sixteenth century. Namkha Tashi looked to Indian painting as model for figures, placing them in Chinese-inspired landscapes.
Most of what we know of this tradition, however, belongs to its eighteenth century revival, fostered by the great scholar-painter Situ Panchen Chokyi Jungne (1700-1774) in eastern Tibet. Even more important to the history of Tibetan art than Situ Panchen's place as an individual painter is his role as a patron and designer of paintings, many of which continue to be copied to this day. For the first time anywhere, this exhibition traces the career and artistic legacy of one of the great patrons and artists in Tibetan history.
Approximate Number of Works: 50 including paintings and sculpture