Buddha, Sage of the Shakya Clan
Buddha, Sage of the Shakya Clan
Buddha, Sage of the Shakya Clan captures the mythology of Buddha's life and the "Eight Great Events" that transformed it.
Asia Society
June 13, 2023 to August 27, 2023
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Exhibition Details

While the actual life events of Shakyamuni Buddha are not well documented, there are several legendary stories that contain significant moments of his life. In this exhibition, we focus on the “Eight Great Events.” This story of the Buddha’s life is depicted in scenes having origins from early Indian Buddhism, which became codified in a visual language by around 100 AD. Prior to that time, only aniconic images of these events existed: wheels, footprints, parasols, and riderless horses were used to symbolize the Buddha rather than figurative representations.

Additional Details

The scenes illustrated in Buddha, Sage of the Shakya Clan: Masterworks from the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection began to appear by the second century in Mathura (in modern-day Uttar Pradesh) and within the Buddhist centers of the Gandharan Kingdom (areas in modern-day Afghanistan and Pakistan). The sculptures and paintings on display depict some or all of the “Eight Great Events.”


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Image: Shakyamuni Buddha with Kneeling Worshippers / courtesy of Asia Society