The Brooklyn Museum will unveil a new gallery in January devoted to the “Arts of Buddhism,” with close to 70 objects from 14 countries dating from the second century C.E. to the early 2000s. The newest in a series of galleries focused on the Arts of Asia and the Islamic World collections, the installation will be organized by Joan Cummins, the museum’s senior curator of Asian art.
The presentation aims to serve as “an introduction to the tenets and history of the Buddhist religion,” with sculptural renderings of enlightened souls shown alongside tools and ornaments used in Buddhist temples. Nineteen of the objects set to go on view have never been shown in the museum, and a pair of 14th-century Japanese mandala paintings will be seen for the first time in 25 years.
“We are excited to bring out some of Brooklyn’s great treasures in this gallery, and we’re excited to show them in a new way,” Cummins told ARTnews. “Instead of dividing things up by region or setting them up chronologically, we are juxtaposing Buddhas from India, Thailand, and Japan—and bodhisattvas from Indonesia, Korea, and China—made hundreds of years apart. In some cases the similarities are obvious; in others one has to look carefully to see what the images have in common. And careful looking will reveal some absolutely brilliant artistry because the museum has really deep and important holdings of Buddhist art.”
Opening January 21, the new gallery will be on the Brooklyn Museum’s second floor, which, as part of an ongoing project to modernize the floor’s various spaces, will make room later in the year for new galleries for Arts of the Himalayas, Arts of the Islamic World, and Arts of South Asia.