Masterworks, a regularly changing exhibition at the Rubin, explores major strands in the development of Himalayan art, covering a period of over 1,000 years, and presents regional artistic traditions in their broad cultural, geographic, historical, and stylistic contexts. The 2016 iteration of this exhibition draws from the Rubin collection and is augmented by a few select long-term loans.
Masterworks is organized geographically, showcasing the diverse regional traditions of western Tibet, central Tibet, eastern Tibet, and Bhutan in relation to the neighboring areas of India, Kashmir, Nepal, China, and Mongolia. Highlights from the exhibition include:
- the White Beryl, a prominent new acquisition and important illuminated manuscript illustrating the Tibetan system of elemental divination
- an incredibly detailed fourteenth-century painting showing more than a hundred previous lives of the Buddha
- a rare group of works made by a renowned seventeenth-century Tibetan artist
- a six-foot-wide woodblock print pilgrimage map made by a Mongolian monk in 1846
- a famous set of paintings of the Eight Great Bodhisattvas from eastern Tibet
A special area of the exhibition will include a large interactive exploration of the 1846 pilgrimage map, allowing visitors to go on a virtual pilgrimage to Mount Wutai, believed to be the earthly abode of the bodhisattva of wisdom Manjushri. This includes not only a detailed exploration of the many monasteries, caves, and miraculous visions depicted in the woodblock print, but also descriptions drawn from Chinese and Tibetan pilgrimage guides and photographs from the sites themselves.
Curated by Karl Debreczeny
Support of this exhibition has been provided by contributors to the 2016 Exhibitions Fund.
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