Encountering the Buddha
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Encountering the Buddha

Art and Practice across Asia
October 14, 2017 - November 29, 2020 
Freer Gallery of Art
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Buddhism—and the art it inspired—helped shape the cultures of Asia. Today, its extraordinary art is a source of beauty and contemplation for audiences across the world. Encountering the Buddha brings together more than two hundred artworks, spanning two millennia, to explore Asia’s rich Buddhist heritage. They represent diverse schools that arose from the Buddha’s teachings. Throughout the exhibition and the website, we explore how Buddhist artworks are endowed with sacred power. We ask, why were they created? How did Buddhists engage with them? And how do Buddhist understandings of such objects differ from those of art museums? While pursuing answers, we highlight different contexts: grand shrines, intimate altars, royal palaces, artists’ workshops, and treacherous pilgrimage routes. All are sites for encountering the Buddha. Our website features highlights from Encountering the Buddha and previews of its immersive installations, as well as links to the apps and podcasts created especially for the exhibition. Information on museum programs and resources for further learning are also included. We’ll be expanding resources and updating our program details on a regular basis; please stay tuned!

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