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It is believed across all traditions of Tibetan Buddhism that the act of viewing artworks can be advantageous to one’s spiritual and physical wellbeing. Depending on the subject depicted in a sculpture, painting, or relic, an art object can offer the viewer the power to remove obstacles, acquire merit, or purify sins.

Drigung Founder's Footprints; Tibet; ca. 1200; Dyes or thin washes of pigments on cloth; Rubin Museum of Art C2003.7.1.
Drigung Founder’s Footprints; Tibet; ca. 1200; Dyes or thin washes of pigments on cloth; Rubin Museum of Art C2003.7.1.

Our new exhibition, opening April 24, will explore this idea of healing through art by highlighting objects created by one of the most important schools of Tibetan Buddhism in the 13th century, the Drigung Kagyu School. Titled “Art with Benefits: the Drigung Tradition,” the show will feature 39 art objects and information on the benefits they offer to viewers.

Lama (Teacher), Jigten Sumgon, Drigungpa (1143-1217); Tibet; 17th century; Ground mineral pigment on cotton; Rubin Museum of Art; Gift of Shelley and Donald Rubin C2006.66.555.
Lama (Teacher), Jigten Sumgon, Drigungpa (1143-1217); Tibet; 17th century; Ground mineral pigment on cotton; Rubin Museum of Art; Gift of Shelley and Donald Rubin C2006.66.555.

Sumgon the founder of the Drigung Kagyu School (ca. 1200); a 14th-century sculpture of Samvara embracing his partner Vajravarahi; and an embodiment of the Drigung style, a 17-century painting of Drigungpa Jikten Sumgon with two lamas from the Drigung U province.

Lama (Teacher), Jigten Sumgon, Drigungpa (1143-1217); Tibet; 17th century; Ground mineral pigment on cotton; Rubin Museum of Art; Gift of Shelley and Donald Rubin C2006.66.555.
Lama (Teacher), Jigten Sumgon, Drigungpa (1143-1217); Tibet; 17th century; Ground mineral pigment on cotton; Rubin Museum of Art; Gift of Shelley and Donald Rubin C2006.66.555.

For more information on “Art with Benefits,” please visit the exhibition webpage.

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