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Featured Topic: Buddhism

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Buddhism and Buddhist Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
An overview of the development of Buddhism and Buddhist art in South Asia from the 1st century BCE to the 6th century CE. With images of 10 related sculptures.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/budd/hd_budd.htm
Recognizing the Gods
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
A guide to the iconography of Hindu and Buddhist deities in South Asian sculpture. Discusses specific poses, hand gestures, postures, vehicles, and accoutrements. With images of 11 related artworks and an explanatory drawing of five mudras (hand gestures).

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/gods/hd_gods.htm
Sacred Texts: The Gandharan Scrolls
The British Library
These fragments "from an extraordinary collection of birch bark writings from ancient Gandhara in present-day Pakistan and Afghanistan may represent the oldest surviving Buddhist texts (and also the oldest South Asian manuscripts) ever discovered." Featuring excellent high-resolution images of the scroll fragments, along with background information about Buddhism, the kingdom of Gandhara, and the significance of these particular scrolls.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/sacredtexts/gandhara.html
University of Washington, Visual Sourcebook of Chinese Civilization
"This unit offers evidence of how Buddhism changed China's visual culture, showing the evolution of images of deities, plus views of temples and people practicing Buddhism." A Visual Sourcebook of Chinese Civilization was prepared by University of Washington history professor Patricia Buckley Ebrey. With questions for discussion, timelines, maps, and suggested readings. Select HOME to find link to teachers' guides for all topics featured on the website.

Go to Museum Resource: http://depts.washington.edu/chinaciv/bud/5budhism.htm
Return of the Buddha: The Qingzhou Discoveries
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
"In 1996 a chance discovery in Qingzhou ... in the northeastern province of Shangdong, brought to light an incredible buried treasure. Workers leveling a school sports field stumbled upon a pit brimming with hundreds of broken, but otherwise well-preserved, sixth-century Buddhist statues." Content organized into five topics -- Discovery (about the excavation), Color, Styles, Gallery (featuring 9 sculptures), and Resources (links to related websites).

Go to Museum Resource: https://archive.asia.si.edu/exhibitions/online/returnofbuddha/base.html
Sacred Texts: The Diamond Sutra
The British Library
The British Library's copy of the Diamond Sutra, printed in China and dating to 868 CE, is the world's earliest dated, printed book. A central text of Indian Buddhism, the Diamond Sutra was first translated from Sanskrit into Chinese in about 400 CE. This webpage gives background information on Buddhism, sutras, and the significance of the Diamond Sutra. There is also a link to detailed information about this particular copy of the Sutra, as well as excellent images and even a "Turning Pages" feature that gives viewers a close-up look at the Sutra.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/sacredtexts/diamondsutra.html
Korean Buddhist Sculpture (5th–9th century)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
A discussion of Buddhism's introduction to the Korean peninsula in 372 CE and its influence on artistic developments during the Three Kingdoms period (BCE 57 - 668 CE), specifically in architecture and sculpture.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/kobs/hd_kobs.htm
Look for the Symbol in the Sculpture
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Uses a 12th-century wooden sculpture of the Japanese Buddhist deity Fudô Myô-ô to demonstrate the role of symbolism in art.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/1975.268.163
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