Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Buddhist Art from Asia's Oldest Museum, the Indian Museum, on View in Singapore


"The Great Departure" Gandhara, 2nd century, Loriyan Tangai, Schist, 48 x 54 x 8.6 cm
(Courtesy Indian Museum, Kolkata)

Any guess as to where Asia’s oldest museum is? We’ll give you a hint, some of its treasures are currently on loan to Singapore’s Asian Civilisations Museum.

“Treasure from Asia’s Oldest Museum: Buddhist Art from the Indian Museum, Kolkata” is currently on view at the Asian Civilisations Museum, commemorating 50 years of diplomatic relations between the city-state and the subcontinent. The exhibition follows the development of Buddhist art from the 2nd century BC through the museum’s collection of sculptures and paintings.With more than 80 rare objects on display, the exhibition details the cultural shifts and changes as Buddhist art progressed including across the Shunga dynasty, ancient Gandhara, the Gupta Empire, and the Pala Empire. Objects representing the Singapore-India relationship can also be viewed including an obelisk recognizing Singapore’s status as a port city under British rule and the Singapore Stone, an ancient marker that was dynamited with fragments sent to the Indian Museum.
Highlights of the exhibition include a 5th century 1.2-meter-tall sandstone Standing Buddha from Sarnath and a Buddha Preaching from Gandhara. Other objects relay tales of Buddhas life from his birth to maturity. Sculptures come in mediums of schist, sandstone, basalt, and bronze, with intricate details and carvings that highlight the artisan mastery of the style. As the Buddhist religion evolved, its objects and worship tools followed suit.
“Treasure from Asia’s Oldest Museum: Buddhist Art from the Indian Museum, Kolkata” is on view until August 16 at the Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore.

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