The all-knowing Buddha - Jan van Alphen

a secret guide


This publication and the related exhibition at the Rubin Museum of Art, in September 2013, are the culmination of a long but intermittent story that began with the acquisition of fifty-four paintings directly from an elderly priest, who had served in the Belgian mission in Inner Mongolia for many years, beginning in the 1920s. Father Raphael Verbois gave the paintings in 1977 to the then Director of the Ethnographic Museum in Antwerp, Dr. Adriaan Claerhout. The set of paintings, what we refer to as the Antwerp album, forms the core of the current project. While initially they were thought to represent the life of the Buddha and some unknown tantric rituals, there is now scholarly unanimity about the fact that the life of the Buddha is just a small part of what the album represents. The major part deals with the meditation on the mandala of Sarvavid Vairocana, who is the central Buddha in the constellation of the five Dhyani Buddhas, or Meditation Buddhas. Sarvavid is Sanskrit, meaning "All-knowing."

Although some initial research was done to thus clarify the import of the album, it has been little seen or published since its acquisition by the Ethnographic Museum. With this publication, the curators at the Rubin Museum offer new research and further clarification: the album's possible historical context (Karl Debreczeny), meanings and ritual use (Elena Pakhoutova), and the rise of Buddha Vairocana and the connection to Esoteric Buddhism (Christian Luczanits). These essays should read as the reopening of a scholarly conversation on the album, and it is hoped that with this publication new information will come to light on this fascinating and unusual set of paintings

In addition to the fifty-four plates with commentary by the Rubin Museum curators, the three essays are illustrated with approximately twenty-five additional images of the All-knowing Buddha and related material.
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2013Taal: Engelszie alle details...


2013Uitgever: Bai176 paginasTaal: EngelsISBN-10: 908586643XISBN-13: 9789085866435
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