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Once Upon Many Times

Legends and Myths in Himalayan Art

September 16, 2011–January 30, 2012

The Himalayan region is home to strong narrative traditions-evidence of which is found in a great number of Himalayan works of art. Once Upon Many Times will present the variety of forms that tell stories of the Buddha, great teachers, legendary masters, spiritual quests, and adventures of heroes painted in thangkas, murals, and told in front of portable shrines.

Historically, illustrative and performed narratives were of particular importance in the Himalayas. In Tibetan areas, for example, teaching storytellers would travel from place to place using scroll paintings and portable sculptures from their traveling shrines to relate much-beloved stories.

Many favorite tales from regularly-performed Tibetan dramas would also often be represented in visual narratives. Of particular note in the exhibition are reproductions of three Lukhang Temple wall murals that provide exceptional examples of illustrations inspired by Tibetan dramas and legends.

This exhibition was funded, in part, by The Achelis Foundation

Curated by Elena Pakhoutova

Notable Related Programming

The Vimalakirti Sutra: Robert Thurman and Peter Sellars
The scholar and the stage director debate the “Theater of the Inconceivable” in the first narrative sutra in the Buddhist canon.

The Vimalakirti Sutra: Work-in-progress with Peter Sellars
An exploration of the earliest narrative sutra in the Buddhist canon by stage director Peter Sellars, actress Kate Valk, and dancer Michael Schumacher.

The Dream-Over
The very popular museum adult sleep-over returns to the Rubin! If you missed out on this very special event the last time, here is your opportunity to participate.

From Urdu Epic and Tibetan Sorcerers to Today
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