7.-bardo-2

Bardo
Tibetan Art of the Afterlife

Exhibition
February 12 – September 6, 2010

According to the Tibetan text Bardo Thodrol, known in the West as The Tibetan Book of the Dead, death provides an important opportunity for spiritual enlightenment. Upon the moment of physical death a 49-day period, divided into three intermediate states, begins. During this time 100 symbolic deities appear to the deceased in a series of visions. In order to attain nirvana, these visions must be recognized as mere illusions. Otherwise the cycle of rebirth continues.

Buddhists work to embrace impermanence throughout life. By familiarizing themselves with all forms of illusion during life, they can more easily overcome the death visions.

Bardo: Tibetan Art of the Afterlife will present about fifty works of art that illustrate the bardo experiences that confront one upon death. These works from throughout the Himalayan region include paintings and sculptures depicting peaceful and wrathful deities; initiation cards; illuminated manuscripts; a three-dimensional mandala inhabited by afterlife deities; and two shrine room models. Audio-visual devices will allow visitors to view Tibetan death-related ceremonies and rituals.

Related Programs
Bardo and the Resurrection
Tibetan Book of the Dead scholar and translator Dr. Ramon Prats engages with a Christian priest on eastern and western understanding of the afterlife.

Lama Marut Meditates on the Bardo
Sumati Marut (a.k.a. Brian K. Smith) has been teaching religion for 25 years. For the past decade he has been a popular teacher of Buddhist and yoga philosophy, spirituality, and meditation.

The Tibetan Book of the Dead Book Club
A series of seven sessions exploring this seminal guide to the afterlife from seven different vantage points.


Special Resources


    Featured Artwork

    This object is a highlight from the Museum’s collection of significant works from the Himalayas and surrounding regions. To browse other important works from the collection, visit the Collection Search page.

    Begtse Chen
    Date: late 18th-early 19th century
    Geographic Origin: Mongolia
    Medium: Gilt copper alloy with pigments
    Dimensions: H 17 5/8 x W 18 x D 5 1/4 in.
    Credit:
    Rubin Museum of Art
    C2005.12.3, HAR65414

    Featured Artwork

    This object is a highlight from the Museum’s collection of significant works from the Himalayas and surrounding regions. To browse other important works from the collection, visit the Collection Search page.

    Magzor Gyalmo, Queen Who Repels Armies
    Date: 19th century
    Geographic Origin: Tibet or Mongolia
    Medium: Wood, wire armature, papier-mâché, glue, and leather with pigments and gilding
    Dimensions: H 25 7/8 x W 15 1/8 x D 10 in.
    Credit:
    Rubin Museum of Art
    C2002.38.1, HAR65251

    Send Your Comments

    Comments are moderated, and will not appear on this site until the Rubin has approved them.