Transient and enduring power of Buddhist art Eternal Transience, Enlightened Wisdom


Figure of Padmapani
Bihar, Northeast India, Pala period
11th-12th century
Copper and silver inlaid brass alloy
H. 14 cm
Cissy and Robert Tang Collection

Figure of Padmapani

Bihar, Northeast India, Pala period

11th–12th century

Copper and silver inlaid brass alloy

H. 14 cm

Cissy and Robert Tang Collection

The University Museum and Art Gallery (UMAG) of the University of Hong Kong (HKU), is pleased to announce Eternal Transience, Enlightened Wisdom: Masterpieces of Buddhist Art, an exhibition of more than 30 artworks from Tibet, Nepal, Pakistan and Mongolia. Dating from the 7th–18th century, the exhibition is composed primarily of bronze statues and thangkas of deities and gurus in Tibetan Buddhism. This public display has been assembled to complement HKU’s international symposium Giuseppe Tucci, his adventurous life, and his scholarly legacy, presented in memory of the renowned Tibetologist on 5 August 2022.

As a form of religious art, the depicted hand gestures and weapons can be understood iconographically in the context of Tibetan Buddhism as symbols of wisdom and compassion that hold the power to enlighten all sentient beings. From an art historical perspective, these Himalayan masterpieces reflect an array of aesthetic and artistic traditions from neighbouring regions across the Indian subcontinent and Central Asia.

As part of Buddhism’s eternal journey from India to the Himalayas, China and Japan, the religious icons and objects of daily religious practice remain a testament to the shifting cultures that have engaged with Buddhism over the millennia. Acknowledging such a state of transience through the current exhibition highlights the enlightened wisdom of the Buddha; the ability to behold the true nature of the world.

For more images and captions of the exhibits, please click here.

Details of the Exhibition

Period: August 17, 2022 (Wednesday) to October 16, 2022 (Sunday)

Opening Hours:

9:30 am–6:00 pm (Tuesday to Saturday)

1:00 pm–6:00 pm (Sunday)

Closed on Mondays, University and Public Holidays

Venue: 1/F, T.T. Tsui Building, UMAG, HKU, 90 Bonham Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong (Please enter the museum via the Fung Ping Shan Building)

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