Faith and Empire: Art and Politics in Tibetan Buddhism

1 February–15 July 2019

Exhibition Overview

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Bodhisattva Manjushri as Tikshna-Manjushri; China; Ming dynasty (1368–1644), Yonglereign mark (1403–1424); gilt brass, lost-wax casting; 7 1/2 x 4 3/4 x 3 1/2 in. (19.1 x 12.1 x 8.9 cm); The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Rogers Fund, 2001; 2001.59.

Faith and Empire explores the dynamic historical intersection of politics, religion, and art in Tibetan Buddhism. Through more than 60 objects from the 8th to the 19th century, the exhibition illuminates how Tibetan Buddhism presented a model of universal sacral kingship, whereby consecrated rulers were empowered to expand their realm, aided by the employment of ritual magic. Images were a primary means of political propagation, integral to magical tantric rites and embodiments of its power.

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