Smithsonian Collections

Buddha 2.0: Echoes of the Past

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Smithsonian Institution
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Buddha 2.0: Echoes of the Past
On display through July 31, 2011 at the Freer and Sackler Galleries, the Smithsonian's Museums of Asian Art in Washington, D.C. "Echoes of the Past: The Buddhist Cave Temples of Xiangtangshan" Majestic sixth-century Chinese Buddhist sculpture is combined with 3-D imaging technology in this exploration of one of the most important groups of Buddhist devotional sites in early medieval China. Carved into the mountains of northern China, the Buddhist cave temples of Xiangtangshan (響堂山, pronounced "shahng-tahng-shahn") were the crowning cultural achievement of the Northern Qi dynasty (550--77 CE). Once home to a magnificent array of sculptures—monumental Buddhas, divine attendant figures, and crouching monsters framed by floral motifs—the limestone caves were severely damaged in the first half of the twentieth century, when their contents were chiseled away and offered for sale on the international art market. In "Echoes of the Past," ancient sculptural masterpieces are united with a set of innovative digital components, including a video installation that offers an immersive, kinetic re-creation of one of the largest stone temples. Touch screens and research kiosks offer more detailed information about the site and the themes explored in the exhibition. Learn more about the exhibition at "Echoes of the Past: The Buddhist Cave Temples of Xiangtangshan" is organized by the Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. Major funding is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Leon Levy Foundation, the Smart Family Foundation, and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation. The exhibition is supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this exhibition do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Field footage and photos provided by University of Chicago and Peking University Music: "Sad World" by Windpearl (Beihai, China)
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1 min 41 sec
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