Suzhou Museum “Buddha · China”, Li Chen and Early Buddhist Objects from Gansu Provincial Museum

Asia Art Center
Apr 9, 2019 3:57AM

Buddha · China – Buddhist Objects in the Early Stage from the Gansu Provincial Museum

Hosts: Suzhou Museum, Gansu Provincial Museum

Co-Host: Asia Art Center

Date: Mar 30 – May 26, 2019

Venue: Suzhou Museum

“Buddha · China – Buddhist Objects in the Early Stage from the Gansu Provincial Museum” hosts its grand opening on Mar. 29 at the Suzhou Museum. Organized by the Suzhou Museum and the Gansu Provincial Museum, with collaboration from Asia Art Center, the exhibition displays 35 early-stage Buddhist objects from the Gansu Provincial Museum’s collection and 7 selected works from Li Chen’s early oeuvre. The exhibition will be on view till May. 26, 2019.

Water-Moon Avalokitesvara 1992 Bronze 75x36x128cm

The exhibition is divided into four sections: “Image of Buddha”, “Memory of Buddha”, “Doctrine of Buddha” and “Buddha · China”. The first three sections respectively exhibit the Buddha heads, pagodas, inscriptions and scripture from the Gansu Provincial Museum’s collection; meanwhile, Li Chen’s contemporary Buddhist-inspired sculptures are placed in the last section, thus creating a proceeding temporal passage that connects the past and present.

Maitreya 1997 Bronze 18x17x65cm

During the Han and Tang Dynasties, much of the West Region’s culture and commodities were imported into China through the “Silk Road”. Today’s Gansu region has been a hub of cultural exchange between China and the West since ancient times. In the chronicles of Buddhism’s spread into mainland China, Gansu was one of the earliest provinces to receive the Buddhist Dharma.

Dragon-Riding Bodhisattva, Wisdom Bodhisattva, and Fulfillment Bodhisattv 2001 Bronze 118x40x55cm

Gansu Provincial Museum has an extensive collection of classical Buddhist scripture, statues and relics, from which, 35 early-stage superb Buddhist objects are selected and shown at the exhibition under the subtopics of “Image of Buddha”, “Memory of Buddha” and “Doctrine of Buddha”, demonstrating the historical course of Buddhism in early China. Among the exhibiting artifacts, a Northern-Wei painted stone sculpture of Prabhutaratna and two Northern-Wei painted relief sculpture of Bodhisattva are classified as first-class national treasure, which are of significant academic and research value.

Amitayus 1998 Bronze 22x22x25cm

Echoing with the Gansu Provincial Museum’s early stage Buddhist objects, seven works from Li Chen’s early oeuvre are also featured in the exhibition. Li has devoted to the artistic creation of “Buddha · China” in the past decades, where his compositions have provided unique insights to the Buddhist culture in a contemporary context.

Aerial Pagoda 2010 Bronze 47.5x30x168cm

Aerial Pagoda 2010 Bronze 47.5x30x168cm (Detail)

Through the bilateral display of early-stage Buddhist statues from Gansu and contemporary sculpture by Li Chen, the exhibition aims to offer an enlightening introduction on early Buddhist art, as well as the geographical importance of Gansu in facilitating the promotion of Buddhist culture.

Nirvana 1998 Bronze 63x21x37cm

In the exhibition display, works by Li Chen will be featured alongside the early-stage Buddhist art from the Gansu Provincial Museum; particularly, the calligraphic legend Huai Su cursive script writings on Buddhist studies form a sophisticated visual parallel with Li’s sculpture. This exhibition marks a thematic continuum of Li Chen’s solo exhibition at Aurora Museum, channeling an immersive passage that drifts between the art of thousands of years apart. Wherein this dialogue beyond time and space, past and present, perceptibly narrates the incarnation of history that is self-evident in Li Chen’s art.

Asia Art Center