Now Through January 13, 2013 at The Blanton Museum of Art
In an exclusive presentation, eight rare and never-before publicly exhibited Tibetan works from the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive will be on view through January 13, 2013.
Into the Sacred City: Tibetan Buddhist Deities from the Theos Bernard Collection explores the rich art and religion of this fascinating region through five mandalas and three thangkas dating from the fifteenth to twentieth centuries.
Originally used to explain Buddhist teachings to early nomadic Tibetans, thangkas are meticulously detailed hanging scroll paintings on silk that also serve as meditation aids in Buddhist ritual practice.
The works in the presentation feature fierce and sublime deities such as Mahakala, a protector of monasteries, and Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion. Mandalas are elaborate, intricate circular diagrams reflecting a sacred, idealized universe. They are created as a spiritual exercise and are used in meditation to guide individuals along the path to enlightenment.
As a special program accompanying the exhibition, the Blanton has invited 10 monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery in Atlanta to create a 5-foot sand mandala in the museum’s Rapoport Atrium. The sand mandala project will begin on January 9 and run for five days. The public is invited to view the active creation of the piece and its associated sacred ceremonies.
“This exhibition provides the community the unique opportunity to engage with centuries-old Tibetan art,” said Blanton director Simone Wicha. “Many of the pieces were restored for this exhibition and have never been seen before by the public. These beautiful objects offer an enlightening view into the ancient culture of this important part of the world.”
All of the works in the exhibition come to The Blanton from the Theos Bernard Collection. In 1937, after spending a year in India studying yoga and Tibetan language, the adventurer and scholar Theos Bernard was among the first westerners given permission to enter the legendary city of Lhasa in central Tibet.
Granted unprecedented access to study Tibetan culture and beliefs firsthand, he became the first American ever initiated into the rites of Tibetan Buddhism. He documented his journey extensively through film and photographs, capturing Tibet at a pivotal moment in its history.
British and American journals widely publicized the travels of this charismatic, self-proclaimed, “White Lama.” Through his memoirs and books such as Hatha Yoga: The Report of a Personal Experience, lecture tours, and founding of the first Tibetan Buddhist research center in the United States, Bernard was one of the most influential voices introducing yoga and Tibetan culture to America. In 1947, he vanished mysteriously in the Himalayas while in search of rare manuscripts. Today, scholars continue to unearth new details about Bernard’s life and to reinterpret the actions and legacy of this controversial figure.
Now Through January 13th
Blanton Museum of Art
MLK at Congress (200 East MLK )
Austin, Texas 78701
Front Desk: (512) 471-5482
Current UT faculty/students/staff – Free
Adults – $9
Seniors (65+) – $7
College students with valid ID – $5
Youth (13 – 21) – $5
Children 12 & under – Free
Active-duty military receive free admission year round
For More Information
Be sure to check their website for parking and holiday hours – http://blantonmuseum.org/visit/hours_and_admission/
Also there’s a two for one coupon – http://blantonmuseum.org/files/2012/deccoupon.pdf