The University of Chicagos Smart Museum of Art
was awarded a $300,000 implementation grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in support of Echoes of the Past: The Buddhist Cave Temples of Xiangtangshan, a major traveling exhibition that explores one of the earliest and most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in China. The funds from the grant will be used to support the exhibitions national tour to museums in Washington DC, Dallas, and San Diego.
We are pleased to have received such generous support from the NEH for this project, said Anthony Hirschel, the Dana Feitler Director of the Smart Museum of Art. The story of Xiangtangshan is truly remarkable, and the grant will help to spread important new scholarship and engage people across the country with the magnificent sculptures and history of the temple caves.
On view at the Smart Museum from September 30, 2010 through January 16, 2011, Echoes of the Past mixes ancient sculpture with a set of innovative digital components in order to shed new light on the original beauty and meaning of the Buddhist cave temples of Xiangtangshan. Carved into the limestone cliffs in the mountains of northern China, the cave temples were the crowning cultural achievement of the sixth-century Northern Qi dynasty. The caves were despoiled in the first half of the twentieth century and have recently become the focus of an international research and reconstruction project based at the University of Chicago. Organized by the Smart Museum and the Smithsonian Institutions Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Echoes of the Past showcases these efforts to digitally reconstruct and recontextualize the dispersed objects. After its Chicago debut, the exhibition will travel to the Sackler Gallery (February 26July 31, 2011), the Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University (AugustDecember 2011), and the San Diego Museum of Art (JanuaryApril 2012).