Appreciating Buddhist Art: Part Four – Ritual Tools and Symbols

Friday, August 18, 2017

This blog presents a quick guide to interpreting and understanding Buddhist implements and symbols....

Indonesian Buddhas – A Legacy in Stone

Friday, April 28, 2017

The original Buddha, Sakyamuni Gautama, or Gautama Siddhartha, was born in India in the 6th-5th century BCE. Born into a noble family, he left his privileged life to lead the life of a wandering ascetic and thinker. Meditating on the human condition one night while sitting under a Bodi tree, he awoke to find he had realized nirvana, a heavenly state of absolute beatitude and would not be reborn again. He spent the rest of his life as a preacher, his teachings contained in a series of Buddhist documents called the Sutras. Buddha never projected himself as a divine entity or master, demanding from his follower’s only personal attainment through meditation and reflection; the object being to liberate oneself from the endless cycle of birth and rebirth to reach nirvana....

Appreciating Buddhist Art

Friday, January 20, 2017

If you’ve ever taken a trip to Asia and visited Buddhist temples you have surely come across different depictions of Buddha. We may recognize him whether he is standing, sitting or lying down. Sometimes he wears a jeweled crown. At other times, rays of light called a mandorla radiate from behind his head. His eyes may be or open or closed; he may hold objects in his hands; and he may be made from different materials such as copper, iron, gold or jade. He may be painted white, blue, yellow or red; have a normal complement of body parts or multiple heads and arms. He may be tall and thin or short and fat – but let’s stop here. To a casual observer, the many depictions of Buddha can be confusing; and in fact, what looks like Buddha is often not Buddha at all....

Buddha Room Paintings – The 12 Stages of Buddha’s Life

Friday, November 25, 2016

This blog explains paintings illustrating the 12 stages of Buddha’s Life, also known as the 12 Deeds, as seen only in the Buddha Room at Primitive, Chicago....

Appreciating Buddhist Art: Part Three – Bodhisattvas

Friday, December 04, 2015

When viewing Buddhist artworks, one is bound to come across depictions of celestial beings called Bodhisattvas. They are enlightened beings or those on the path to enlightenment who reach out to help people in need. Well-known figures such as Avalokiteshvara and the Laughing Buddha are both bodhisattvas who embody the teachings of the historical Gautama Buddha....

Appreciating Buddhist Art: Part Two – Dhyani Buddhas

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Dhyani Buddhas are the five qualities of the Buddha and the enlightened consciousness. Each is represented by different colors, hand postures called mudra, and positions in the mandala. It may be difficult to distinguish these figures from depictions of the historical Buddha but there are some guidelines that will help provide a greater understanding and appreciation for Buddhist art....

Appreciating Buddhist Art: Part One – Siddhartha Gautama

Friday, May 29, 2015

When looking at Buddhist art it is easy to become confused with the many Buddha statues. Not all of them are depictions of the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama. Significant variations in styles also exist depending on the region it was created. There are, however, certain features such as hand positions, facial details and adornments that can give us deeper insight into who the depiction is of and which region it came from...

Language of the Soul – Mudra in Buddhist Art

Friday, December 12, 2014

The mudras, or hand positions, of Buddhist artworks are not random whims of the artist. Each mudra conveys a message and commemorates important moments in the life of the historical Buddha. They are visual clues to the nature and function of each Buddha figure, and the voice of its soul...

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Stories & Descriptions

Discover more information about the culture and history behind many of these beautiful select objects, artifacts, antiques and furnishings–click here

“Cultural objects tell stories; and in each story a simple message is found—all cultures are the same, we just express ourselves differentlyGLEN JOFFE, OWNER