The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City opened an exhibition on 21 July called “Tree & Serpent: Early Buddhist Art in India, 200 BCE–400 CE.”
The exhibition, which will run until 13 November, contains more than 125 Buddhist artifacts from India and explores the pre-Buddhist origins of figurative sculpture India. The event is sponsored by The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Global and the Fred Eychaner Fund.
“Occasions such as these highlight the strong India-US ties, ” said the US ambassador to India, Eric Garcetti, who traveled from New Delhi to attend the opening of the exhibition. “Americans in the world are learning more and more about India, about its history, about the religious past, about the ways that we can connect the world better together. This bridge that we’re building has never been stronger. Cross that bridge and see India here in New York, and vice versa.” (The Tribune)
Garcetti also attended a special preview of the artifacts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which was attended by the Indian ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu; the founder and chairperson of Reliance Foundation, Nita M. Ambani; and the consul general of India in New York, Randhir Jaiswal, among others.
Ambani stated: “I come from India, the land of the Buddha, and it is a huge honor for me to support ‘Tree & Serpent’ through Reliance Foundation’s partnership with the Met.” She added: “With the ‘Tree & Serpent,’ we take immense pride in showcasing the deep-rooted connection between Buddhism and India. The teachings of [the] Buddha are entwined with Indian ethos and continue to shape global thought. I hope people from around the world come and enjoy this one-of-a-kind experience.” (Business Today)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art described the event in a statement:
This is the story of the origins of Buddhist art. The religious landscape of ancient India was transformed by the teachings of the Buddha, which in turn inspired art devoted to expressing his message. Sublime imagery adorned the most ancient monumental religious structures in ancient India, known as stupas. The stupa not only housed the relics of the Buddha but also honored him through symbolic representations and visual storytelling. Original relics and reliquaries are at the heart of this exhibition, which culminates with the Buddha image itself.(The Met)
The sculptures in this artistic display come in a variety of materials, including gold, silver, bronze, limestone, and rock crystal. Each piece of art helps to show the role that India played in fostering global trade routes, and add additional layers to Buddhism’s artistic cannon.
In addition, 105 stolen antiquities were presented to Indian officials by US representatives as part of a repatriation ceremony hosted by the Consulate General of India in New York.
Garcetti noted that the repatriation of stolen artifacts to India was a priority of US President Joe Biden, who has worked closely with the Metropolitan Museum of Art to ensure that stolen artifacts are returned to their home countries all over the world.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art first opened in 1870 at the behest of a number finance professionals, businessmen, and leading artists and thought leaders of the 19th century, with the aim of creating a place where people could both enjoy and become educated about the arts. The museum today houses a collection that spans 5,000 years of human history.
New York: Nita Ambani-backed ‘Early Buddhist Art in India’ makes it to The Met (Business Today)
Tree & Serpent: Early Buddhist Art in India 200BCE–400CE (The Met)
Metropolitan Museum of Art hosts exhibition highlighting early Buddhist art in India (The Tribune)
Buddhist Art From India: Where the Natural Meets the Supernatural (The New York Times)
Related news reports from BDG
“Tree & Serpent: Early Buddhist Art in India, 200 BCE–400 CE
Metropolitan Museum of Art to Showcase “Tree & Serpent: Early Buddhist Art in India, 200 BCE–400 CE”
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