Sacred Spaces: The Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room

Exhibition Website

Oct 23 2015 - Oct 17 2016

Rubin Museum of Art

New York City, NY

This exhibition reflects on sacred spaces by focusing on devotional activities in awe-inspiring places. In particular the exhibition presents three distinct but related environments shaped by acts of veneration. What spaces are sacred to you?

The Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room provides an immersive experience inspired by a traditional shrine that would be used for offering, devotion, prayer, and contemplation. Art and ritual objects are presented as they would be in an elaborate private household shrine. The new fourth-floor installation of the Shrine Room more than doubles the visitor capacity of its previous location. As atmospheric context for the shrine, visitors are transported to the Himalayas by gazing at a panoramic photograph taken in Mustang, Nepal, by Jaroslav Poncar. This impressive vista evokes the high mountainous landscape in which Tibetan Buddhism developed and still flourishes.

According to Himalayan cultures, the landscape is animated and full of life and power. The forces of the ground, water, rocks, mountains, and trees all require acts of devotion to fend off dangers and invite blessings. Visitors are also invited to contemplate a video installation created by Deidi von Schaewen. The work documents a Jain communal ritual in which a massive stone sculpture is anointed every twelve years in Shravanabelgola, Karnataka, India. Devotees pour various offering substances over the figure during the course of four days. The twelve-minute two-channel video installation of this sacred rite presents a mesmerizing display of devotional acts such as ablutions, blessings, and prayers.

Credit: Exhibition overview from the Rubin Museum website

  • Asian
  • Sacred

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