10th- to 15th-Century Chinese Buddhist Art on View at the Saint Louis Art Museum
It’s a beautiful thing when art and history intersect, as they do in a fascinating manner at the Saint Louis Art Museum’s current ancient Chinese art exhibition. Specifically showcasing Chinese Buddhist art made between the 10th and 15th centuries, the exhibition is composed of a variety of rare pieces from the Museum’s private collection. The Buddhist-themed paintings are part of the progression of the religion in China, as Buddhism was introduced to the country around the second and third centuries.
What follows is a vital historical, liturgical and cultural mapping of China’s progression through art, strongly informed by each time period’s corresponding dynasty, beginning with the Five Dynasties (907–960) to the early part of the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644). Much of the tranquil imagery in the actual pieces, including the Buddhist symbols of bodhisattvas, arhats and lotuses, belies the historic conflict and unrest happening at the time.
The centerpiece of the exhibition is a portion of a wall painting that was once part of a temple hall in China that can be traced all the way back to the Five Dynasties. Titled the “Seated Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara (Guanyin)” the piece was painted in the year 952 AD, one of the oldest pieces in its genre of art. Curated by the Museum’s curator of Asian art, Philip Hu, the exhibit will on view through Sept. 30, free and open to the public.
Saint Louis Art Museum
1 Fine Arts Drive
St. Louis, Missouri, 63110
Image courtesy of the Saint Louis Art Museum.