Buddhist Art of Myanmar Premieres in New York

Article by Jazmin Justo
Photo credit Thanaporn Koowathana

On February 10, the Asia Society Museum presents its first exhibition of Buddhist Art from Myanmar. Featuring 70 works dating from the fifth through the early twentieth century, this exhibit gives a new light to the significance of Buddhism in Southeast Asian culture and history.

The Buddhist objects were created for temples, monasteries, and personal devotion are presented in their historical and spiritual context. The exhibition has been separated into three divisions to present each object in its historical and spiritual context, Images of the Buddha, Lives of the Buddha, and Devotion and Ritual. Guest curators Sylvia Fraser-Lu and Donald M. Stradtner with Adriana Proser, Asia Society’s John H. Foster Senior Curator for Traditional Asian Art, gave an informative tour of the historical significance of each piece and its cultural value. For art history enthusiasts, this is a unique opportunity to take a glimpse into the past and to learn about the majestic beauty and art of the Myanmar culture.

The Asia Society Museum in collaboration with the National Museums of Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw, the Bagan Archaeological Museum, Sri Ksetra Archeological Museum, and the Kaba Aye Buddhist Art Museum, the exhibition will be held until May 10, 2015. The importance of this exhibition is beyond just the presentation of historical relics and artistic beauty but it’s also a symbol of the growing relations between the West and Myanmar. Previously known as Burma, Myanmar has undergone much strife after its independence from Great Britain and until now, Myanmar has made efforts to improve its foreign relations with the U.S. Through the diplomacy efforts of the president of the Asia Society Policy Institute, Mr. Kevin Rudd, with the aid of Mrs. Elaine Merguerian and co-chair Henrietta H. Fore, the museum has been able to forge a cultural exchange with Myanmar. From February to May, the Asia Society will be hosting performances, lectures, films, and exhibitions in an effort to share Myanmar’s cultural history with the West.

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