The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Sunday, September 21, 2014


"Echoes of the Past: The Buddhist Cave Temples of Xiangtangshan" opens at New York University
Standing Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara (Guanyin), Xiangtangshan: Southern Group of Caves, Attributed to Cave 2, 565-577 ce. Limestone freestanding sculpture with lacquerlike coating, 74 x 20 1/16 x 14 9/16 in. (188 x 51 x 37 cm). University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Purchased from C.T. Loo, 1916 (C113).
NEW YORK, NY.- A groundbreaking exhibition that unites masterpieces of Chinese sculpture from the famed sixth‐century cave temples at Xiangtangshan with the first‐ever digitized reconstructions of their original setting opened on September 11, 2012, at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University (ISAW). Based on the most recent scholarship and utilizing advanced imaging technology, the installation provides new insights into the history and original appearance of one of Chinaʹs most remarkable Buddhist devotional sites.

The majestic temples at Xiangtangshan—carved into mountains in northern China and lavishly decorated with sculpted images of Buddha and other celestial beings—were damaged during the early twentieth century, when many of the carvings were removed. Echoes of the Past: The Buddhist Cave Temples of Xiangtangshan brings together twelve of the finest of these temple sculptures, on loan from American and British museums, and features a full‐scale, digital, 3‐D reconstruction of the interior of one of the siteʹs most impressive caves.

The exhibition is the result of a ten‐year research project on the Xiangtangshan temples and their carvings by an international team of scholars based at the University of Chicagoʹs Center for the Art of East Asia. Echoes of the Past remains on view through January 6, 2013.

ISAW Exhibitions Director and Chief Curator Jennifer Chi states: ʺWhile the sculptures from Xiangtangshan can—as indeed they have for many years—stand alone as powerfully impressive works of art, this exhibition is a rare and tremendously exciting opportunity to experience the carvings in their original context and to better understand the sacred meanings they were meant to convey. Echoes of the Past is a superb example of the enormous potential of digital technology in the public presentation of ancient sites and objects.ʺ

Carved into the limestone mountains of Hebei province in northern China, the Buddhist cave temples of Xiangtangshan (which translates as ʺMountain of Echoing Hallsʺ) were the crowning cultural achievement of the Northern Qi dynasty (550‐577 C.E.), whose rulers established Buddhism as the official religion of their realm. The interiors of these vast, multistoried structures, intended as replications of paradise itself, were lavishly decorated with hundreds of carved and painted images of Buddhist deities, disciples, and crouching monsters. Notwithstanding the enormous scale of the project, the carvings are among the most artistically refined surviving examples of Chinese medieval sculpture. Collectively, they are considered fundamental to our understanding of the history of Chinese Buddhist style and iconography. Unfortunately, during the early twentieth century, the outstanding quality and remote location of the temple carvings made them an attractive target for removal. Heads and hands of figures, as well as freestanding sculptures, were removed.

Exhibition Overview
Echoes of the Past reunites twelve of the sculptures that are representative of the imagery, iconography, style, and scale of the sculptural program at Xiangtangshan. Of supreme importance were the images of Buddha, in his many and varied manifestations. A magnificent head of Buddha, measuring nearly three‐feet high, likely belonged to a colossal seated figure of Prabhūtaratna, Buddha of the Past, that is still in situ in the caves. Gently smiling, with downcast eyes, the head exudes an aura of serenity and calm. A smaller, exquisitely carved freestanding figure of a seated Buddha was apparently removed intact, and even retains its large and elaborately worked halo of floral and vegetal motifs. The exhibition also reunites the left and right hands of a colossal Maitreya, Buddha of the Future; although only fragments, the hands are highly expressive, with the creases in the flesh and such details as the fingernails all finely observed.

Also on view are several superb examples of the bodhisattvas and pratyekabuddhas (enlightened spiritual beings worshipped as deities) that abounded in the sculptural program of the caves. A life‐size head of the Bodhisattva Mahāsthāmaprāpta, with its symmetrical but sensitively carved features, exemplifies the wonderful balance of abstraction and naturalism that characterizes the finest Xiangtangshan sculptures. The figure of a standing pratyekabuddha, his mouth slightly open, as if reciting a prayer, has been hailed as one of the most majestic Chinese sculptures of any period. In contrast to the serenely elegant Buddhist deities are the grotesque and grimacing monsters found in the caves, probably representing evil spirits vanquished by Buddhist wisdom. The exhibitionʹs example is a fearsome creature, with a leonine head, curving horns, and wings rising from a corpulent humanoid body. The exhibition also includes rubbings of the sacred inscriptions that were a distinctive feature of the complex at Xiangtangshan.

In addition, visitors to the exhibition have the unprecedented opportunity to virtually ʺwalk throughʺ one of the caves, experiencing it as it might have appeared in the sixth century, thanks to an enveloping media installation that layers 3‐D laser scans of dispersed sculptures onto digitized scans of the existing temple walls and ceiling.



Today's News

September 12, 2012

A landmark exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts celebrates 5,000 years of bronze

Three new interconnected exhibitions open this fall at Carl Solway Gallery in Cincinnati

"Echoes of the Past: The Buddhist Cave Temples of Xiangtangshan" opens at New York University

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston unveils redesigned William I. Koch Gallery of European art

Randy Polumbo presents his most ambitious and monumental work to date at Steven Kasher Gallery

Works of art from the Collection of Hubert de Givenchy displayed at Galerie de François Girardon

Hôtel des Ventes, Geneva announces major fall auctions including more than 2,000 lots

I.M. Chait prepares a connoisseur's selection of Asian and international fine art for its Sept. 23 auction

Sotheby's to offer Cai Guo-Qiang Gunpowder drawing to benefit the Asian Cultural Council

Chester Beatty Library exhibits thirty-three paintings that once belonged to Sir Alfred Chester Beatty

National Gallery of Canada and Winnipeg Art Gallery form three-year partnership

Foundation and Port Authority reach agreement for September 11 museum's completion

Hunter Museum of American Art acquires portrait of George Washington

Medal awarded to policeman who captured the 'Black Panther' serial murderer for sale at Bonhams

Painting by Lee Man Fong hits $1.3 million at Freeman's Sunday sale

Investor buys Muhammad Ali Kentucky childhood home

Lucy Raven presents three new works at the Hammer Museum

Understanding Art: Impressionism makes U.S. debut with DVD release

Joslyn Art Museum announces completion of historic journal translation project

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Fever mounts as stunning statues found at Alexander The Great-era tomb

2.- Hi-tech underground scans reveal vast complex of monuments at Britain's Stonehenge

3.- National Geographic Museum opens exhibition featuring shark-munching Spinosaurus

4.- First major New York City exhibition to explore Vienna Actionism opens at Hauser & Wirth

5.- Elizabeth I 'airbrushed' for 18th century make-over and a bug is found in Edward VI

6.- Award winning Swedish director Daniel Fridell to direct Kalliope Films' Vincent Van Gogh biopic

7.- Comprehensive retrospective exhibition of Joan Miró's work opens at the Albertina

8.- Synchrotron radiation technology in art conservation: Science to the rescue of art

9.- Mona Kuhn's first solo exhibition in the US opens at Edwynn Houk Gallery

10.- Sotheby's announces details of its sales series for Property from the Collection of Mrs. Paul Mellon



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site