Indian and South East Asian Art since 1978


10 Novembre 1994


Via San Giovanni sul Muro 17


For a long time, no images of the Buddha were fashioned. He was represented through his symbols: footprints, an empty throne, the wheel with deer, stupas.When images of the Buddha did appear, it was because the Buddhist authorities had attributed 32 peculiarities to his figure, by which he could be immediately recognised.It was almost never possible to include them all, but the most important are always present: the “ushnisa” (that protuberance on the top of the head with the hair gathered into it) which symbolizes his wisdom; the heavily stylised and sexless body, with no muscles or bones in evidence, indicating the mortification of desire through a disciplined mind; the eyes usually lowered, in the shape of lotus buds; and the smiling mouth to reinforce his aura.On view in this exhibition are numerous sculptures and bronzes of the Buddha: from the sculptures in schist and stucco of Gandhara art, with its strong Hellenistic influence (from the 1st to the 5th centuries), up to the bronzes and sculptures originating from Tibet, Thailand and Burma (from the 17th to 19th centuries).All this is intended to convey the serenity, spirituality and profound inner peace emanated by the Buddha through his images.

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