Qingzhou Buddhas reached Australia

Buddha’s head. Sandstone. Northern Qi (550−577). The Qingzhou Municipal Museum

The art gallery in New Southern Wales (Sydney, Australia) continues the exhibition of Chinese sculpture The Lost Buddhas – Chinese Buddhist Sculpture from Qingzhou. It will be opened till November, 23. The exposition represents one of the most mysterious archeological finds of the 20th century – a collection of ancient Buddhist sculptures which were found out during building works at ancient Longxing.

As well as in the case with the discovery of terracotta army in Xi’an 34 years ago, this surprising discovery was also occasional. More than 400 intact statues and fragments of Buddhas were found out in 1996 in the western Qingzhou during the construction of sports ground. The majority of them are executed from local grey-bluish limestone, but there are sculptures made of marble and granite, and some of them are from clay, metal and wood. Almost all the statues are gilded, painted red, green, dark blue, black and white colours, shades of ochre. For the unknown reasons, in the 7th century sculpture were carefully wrapped and buried at a special burial ground.

The discovery of 400 intact statues and fragments created in the 6th century is a sensation for experts. It is not only because of the hidden monuments: the find bridged the gap in the history of Buddhist art and in some way changed the idea of traditions of medieval sculpture in China.

The gallery of the New Southern Wales represents 35 best sculptures from the collection of the Qingzhou Municipal Museum. “What is surprising in these works, − the main curator of the gallery Edmund Capon tells is for the first, their modernity, and for the second the contribution which they made to the history of Chinese art in general and Buddhist sculpture in particular”.

Guest exhibitions of Buddhist sculptures are very rare, first of all, because sculptures are too heavy and difficult for transportation. The exhibition in Sydney is a unique opportunity to see the best works of art of medieval China.

On the threshold of an exhibition the Sydney University organised an important international symposium devoted to Buddhist culture. Scientists all over the world took part in the symposium.

In conclusion it is necessary to say that the collection of sculpture from Qingzhou had already been exhibited in the largest museums of the world. The similar exhibition was held in the St. Petersburg Hermitage in the end of 2007.
The Lost Buddhas exhibition − Chinese Buddhist Sculpture from Qingzhou will be opened till November, 23.

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Published in: on October 17, 2008 at 8:24 am  Leave a Comment  

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