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Buddhist Art of Gansu

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Buddhism was created in ancient  India by Sakyamuni in the period between 5th and 6th  century B.C. It was one of the three main international religions of which the  other two were Islam and Christianity. In the process of its spreading, three  new major schools of Buddhism: Han-Chinese Buddhism, Hinayana Buddhism (Little  Vehicle) and Tibetan Buddhism gradually came into being after accepting the  elements of local cultural features. Han-Chinese Buddhism referred to one  school of Buddhism which was introduced into China via the Silk Road in the Han Dynasty and regarded at  the early stage as witchcraft.  It took its root in the Sixteen Kingdoms Period  of Eastern Jin, sprouted and flourished on this piece of land—China since then  on the basis of promotion by the ruling classes, finally joined the main stream  of Chinese civilization and became an indispensable part of Chinese  culture.

Gansu, located on the eastern part of ancient continental Silk Road, had  been the key position and a gateway from the Western Region to the Central Plain  of China also a leading edge for the spreading of Buddhism to other parts of  China, thus it had been a place where  Buddhist art and Han-Chinese culture met and mingled. We have selected with  utmost care over 100 pieces (groups) of Buddhist cultural relics dating from the  Sixteen Kingdoms Period to the Ming and Qing dynasties covering about 1,700  years from the abundant cultural relics collection of Gansu Provincial Museum in  order to prepared for the public this exhibition wishing to show Chinese  Buddhist culture at the same time providing an opportunity for the visitors to  experience religious, academic and artistic value of Buddhism.  

The exhibition Buddhist Solemnity and  Majesty — Buddhist Art of Gansu consists of six units: Eastward Introduction of  Buddhism — Han Dynasty, Sixteen Kingdoms Period, Development of Buddhist Art —  Southern & Northern Dynasties, Golden Age of Buddhism — Sui and Tang  Dynasties, Prosperous Period of Tibetan Buddhism — Yuan, Ming, Qing Dynasties    and Treasures Found in LibraryCave of Mogao Grottoes. Almost all sorts  of Buddhist cultural relics such as statue from Buddhist grottoes, monomer  statue, statue stela, statue pagoda, painted brick, Buddhist sutra and other  miscellaneous Buddhist cultural relics included into this exhibition show  1700-year history of spreading and development of Buddhism in Gansu from Sixteen  Kingdoms Period to Ming and Qing dynasties. The exhibiting hall with natual  light was used to creat a space filled with atmosphere of Buddhist art together  with artificial light, most representative Buddhist elements and large-scale  replicated scenes. Visitors can feel more naturally and vividly the charm of  buddhist art in the exhibiting hall by taking part in the interaction activities  provided by using new concept of exhibiting, new way of designing and displaying  and modern technique.

The exhibition Buddhist Solemnity and  Majesty — Buddhist Art of Gansu won the national award of ninth Ten Excellent  Exhibitions for the year 2009-2010 due to its  distinctive theme, rich content,  unique design, superior making, diversified services and popularization toward  the public.



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