Guru Rinpoche, der „Kostbare Lehrer“, Detail aus dem Berliner Thangka-Set, Südliches Tibet oder Grenzregionen zwischen Tibet, Bhutan und Indien, Ende 17./ Erstes Drittel 18. Jahrhundert © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Museum für Asiatische Kunst / Jürgen Liepe
from: 28.11.2013 to: 29.06.2014
Museum für Asiatische Kunst
Presented in cooperation with the Ethnologisches Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, and the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.
Padmasambhava, also revered as 'Guru Rinpoche', meaning 'precious teacher', is the most important 'Vajrayana' or Tantric Buddhist master of the Himalayan region. He is attributed with establishing Buddhism in this vast region in the 8th century. It is purported that he did so by overcoming and vanquishing demons and local deities, and by enacting a ritual dance. This dance serves as a prototype for the masked dances that are still performed today. Some of the demons Padmasambhava even transformed into protectors of the religion and these now form the main figures in Tibetan 'cham' ritual dances.
The exhibition focuses on the eight manifestations of Padmasambhava (Guru Tsengye). These manifestations, or aspects, are embodied in thangkas (paintings on embroidered silk), masks, ritual objects, pilgrimage sites, and ritual dances. The display highlights both the ancient historical traditions and the thriving contemporary ones that surround the guru. The display subsequently examines the medieval history of the Himalayas and blends historical artworks with film material and masks from today. The centrepiece of the exhibition is the Museum für Asiatische Kunst's recently restored set of nine thangka paintings. This is the first time art historians and ethnologists at the Staatliche Museen have joined together to explore the traditions surrounding Guru Rinpoche and his eight manifestations. A team of art historians has analyzed the representation of Guru Rinpoche and his eight aspects in art and their historical origins. The art historians' work not only includes a visual analysis of the Berlin thangkas, but also an examination of their original cultural context as a cultural medium that once served as both ritual object and the material personification of history. Meanwhile ethnologists have shed light on the theme of ritual and examined how the tradition of Padmasambhava devotion continues to affect the everyday life of the people of Bhutan and Ladakh (remote northern India) today. Read more of this post
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