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Exclusive: Zhiguan Museum director discusses Himalayan art

Publish Time: 2018-11-01 Author: From: CGTN

"The Light of Buddha – Buddhist Sculptures of the Palace Museum and Zhiguan Museum of Fine Arts" opened at the Palace Museum of the Forbidden City on October 23, 2018.

A total of 112 exhibits are on display, selected from the Palace Museum, Zhiguan Museum of Fine Arts and some private collections.

CGTN interviewed Jeff Watt on Tuesday, the director and chief curator of the Zhiguan Museum of Fine Arts in Beijing, a visiting professor at Sichuan University, and executive director of the non-profit responsible for the Himalayan Art Resources website. Watt shared his expertise with CGTN on how to comprehend exhibitions and the future development of Tibetan Buddhist art.

Background of the exhibition

Buddhism and its arts originate from India. Buddhist art, diffused into the Himalayas as the religion spread, is integral to various cultures in the Himalayas and their characteristics.

The exhibits come from ancient northwest India, central India, northeast India, Nepal and China's Tibet Autonomous Region, respectively. The time span of the exhibits ranges from the 2nd century to the 15th century, showing the source of Tibetan Buddhist art and its rich artistic features.

In recent years, Tibetan Buddhist art has attracted more and more attention and appreciation due to its unique charm.

There are two parts of the exhibition, earlier pieces are in one area and the later pieces in another. /CGTN Photo

Tibetan Buddhism is part of the Himalayan culture, with deep ties to the cultures of central Asia and western Asia, while understanding Tibetan Buddhism also requires grasping this multicultural context.

Also, the whole exhibition is based on the two major units of Tibetan art style, including Central Tibet and Western Tibet.

"Actually, as all exhibitions are divided according to space, we have to use what space we have in hand," Watt told CGTN.

"Earlier pieces are in one area and the later pieces in another, so it is simply a chronological distinction," he added.

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