since 14 December 2012
Buddhism and Samurai

The MKG is presenting the art of Buddhism in expanded and newly designed form in two new exhibition rooms to mark the recent acquisition of new Buddhist sculptures as well as the objects donated by Peter Schmidt. With this new presentation of Buddhism, one of the oldest world religions, the MKG is paying due regard to questions of faith which are more relevant than ever today and concentrating its focus on the major religions of the world. This will be followed in 2013 by the reopening of the Christian Medieval and Islam Collections. The exhibition introduces the visitor to the world of Buddhism, which was founded, long before Jesus and Mohammed, by Siddhartha Gautama in the 6th century B. C. The focal point of the presentation comprises wooden sculptures from China and Japan dating from the 6th to the 16th centuries, supplemented by figurines from India and Central Asia.  They show Buddha figures, monks, tutelary deities and Bodhisattvas, who help believers on their path towards release from earthly suffering. The exhibition also illustrates the tolerant nature of Buddhism, which concerns itself above all with ethical behaviour, respect for every living creature and meditation. This enabled it to exist in symbiosis with other religions such as Shintô. Besides their religious significance, the sculptures and paintings are works of art which bear magnificent witness to the power of the human imagination. They reveal to the observer various characters and stages of enlightenment: the struggle for faith, the state of imperturbable serenity leading up to the point where the enlightened being completely casts off the ties of the physical world to become a Buddha.   The reopening also allows the MKG to celebrate a most generous donation: Peter Schmidt is giving the Museum valuable Buddhist sculptures and paintings in recognition of his connection with us over many years.

Abb.: Wasser-Mond-Guanyin, fühe Ming-Dynastie, 15. Jh., China, Foto: Roman Raacke