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Lecture with Curator Phillip E. Bloom: "Arhats and the Figural Imagination of Chinese Buddhist Art"

Presented by Smith College Museum of Art at Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton MA

Oct 30 2019
Lecture with Curator Phillip E. Bloom: "Arhats and the Figural Imagination of Chinese Buddhist Art"

Explore figural art in the Chinese Buddhist paintings of the Song dynasty, focusing on depictions of arhats-semi-human, semi-divine monks.

A dizzying variety of eccentric figures fill Chinese Buddhist paintings of the Song dynasty (960–1279) onward. Wizened monks dance through the air on clouds; their younger compatriots cavort with dragons and receive offerings from animals and deities. Who are these figures, and what was their appeal to practitioners of Buddhism? More generally, what role did figural paintings play in the lives and practices of premodern Buddhists? Focusing particularly on depictions of arhats—semi-human,

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