Religious images live Switched-On, Off circuit life. I remember walking in the National Museum of Kyoto, Japan, some years ago, which has in its ranks of Buddhist sculpture, and be stopped by a single piece, not because it was particularly beautiful – it’s was not – but because a vase with a single fresh flower was placed before him as an offering at a temple. I kept the picture because someone – a guard? a visitor? – He told me to think in terms not often in museums, it was important, a personal spiritual form.
This dynamic is worth keeping in mind during the exhibition in majestic silence “Myanmar Buddhist Art” at the Asia Society. You will not see offerings of flowers, but with hands, eyes, minds of devotion is this art is about. Even if your interest is purely aesthetic or historical, the show is a find, because chances are you have not seen a lot of this kind of art before.
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