Himalayan Bodhisattvas at the centre of upcoming Met exhibition

Himalayan Bodhisattvas at the centre of upcoming Met exhibition

Bringing together a group of paintings, sculptures, ritual objects, and illustrated manuscripts from the 11th-18th centuries, made primarily for Nepal and Tibet’s monastic institutions, an upcoming exhibition at New York-based museum “The Met” will spotlight the Himalayan Bodhisattva tradition.

The exhibition titled ‘Bodhisattvas of Wisdom, Compassion, and Power’ will run from March 27 this year to October 16, 2022.

Within the Buddhist traditions of the Himalayas, three bodhisattvas emerge as personifications of Buddhist ideals. Manjushri, who cuts through ignorance and personifies correct knowledge; Avalokiteshvara, a compassionate protector of the devout that helps reveal the true nature of reality; and Vajrapani as the embodiment of the energy of enlightenment, said “The Met”.

It added: “Focusing on dramatic images, a worshipper could first evoke the subtle knowledge that Manjushri personifies, then with Avalokiteshvara’s aid, it is possible to proceed in a way free from self-imposed delusions, while Vajrapani’s transcendent power aids in destroying jealousy and hatred that stand in the way of enlightenment. Venerating these three bodhisattvas together has a long history, and they play an essential role in the introduction of Buddhism to Tibet.”

Beautifully cast sculptures and accessible paintings showing peaceful manifestations of the bodhisattvas intended for the public are juxtaposed with complex tantric images of the highest quality done in portable media made for monastic elites.

This exhibition presents some of the sublime representations of these three bodhisattvas at the centre of this great devotional tradition embraced across the Himalayas.

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