Masterworks, a regularly changing exhibition at the Rubin, explores major strands in the development of Himalayan art, covering a period of over one thousand years, and presents regional artistic traditions in their broad cultural, geographic, historical, and stylistic contexts. The 2017 iteration of this exhibition draws primarily 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:
● A delightfully intimate 13th century Nepalese sculpture of the divine Hindu couple Shiva and Parvati which coveys a decidedly human character
● A Fearsome 15th century Tibetan painting of Black Hayagriva swirling with hypnotic flames
● A charming 17th century painting of the Great Indian Spiritual Adept Virupa, who stops the sun in its tracks so he can continue drinking, seated in a rich blue-green landscape
● A 19th century terracotta sculpture of a local god of the land, Kula Kari, riding his great shaggy yak while cute animals cavort across his mountain
A special area of the gallery is devoted to an extensive display of all 59 folio of The White Beryl, a prominent recent acquisition and an exquisitely illuminated manuscript illustrating the Tibetan system of elemental divination.
Curated by Karl Debreczeny
Support of this exhibition has been provided by contributors to the 2016 Exhibitions Fund.
Maitreya, the Future Buddha; Tibet; 15th century; pigments on cloth; Rubin Museum of Art; gift of Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation; F1998.17.2 (HAR 664)
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