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Bon: The Magic Word

October 5, 2007–April 14, 2008

Bon: The Magic Word is the first exhibition of art to illuminate the Bon, a religious and cultural group living in the Himalayas and Central Asia—a group almost unknown in the Western world. Bon culture and religion pre-date the northern advance of Buddhism onto the Tibetan Plateau in the 7th century. Despite Buddhism’s growth in popularity since the 11th century, the Bon religion and culture have continued up to the present day. This eye-opening exhibition will identify a substrate of belief in the spirits of place and natural formations—mountains, sky, rivers, stones, and lakes—springing from Bon that runs through the edifices of religions in the region. It will also begin to train the eye to see distinctive Bon features in the arts of the Himalayas and surrounding regions.

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