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The Multi-faced World of Himalayan Art

Strolling through a museum is a chance to glimpse the past, exploring worlds perhaps long gone while still enjoying and learning from their treasures. Art is, after all, a creation to represent the life of others: a quick snapshot of what people valued. In a day’s trip, patrons can witness tangible creations that survived centuries, read about their stories, and walk away with appreciation for their lifestyle. Appreciation for cultures continues to expand, and many galleries have been adding Himalayan artwork, compositions that originated in areas such as Tibet and Nepal. It’s an opportunity to appreciate and understand a religion, a lifestyle, and a complex artistic style. Here are 4 things viewers could discover from a Himalayan display.

It Represents Beliefs

Paintings or sculptures often depict religious beliefs, capturing the deities from their religion. In many homes, they became devotional pieces. For example, some may own pieces showing images of mountain gods and others could have images of protectors. A vast collection demonstrates the numerous ideas held by the group and how they raised their families.

It Serves a Purpose

While representing gods and certainly showing faith, many owned artistic objects for decorative purposes. For example, many Chinese Emperors enjoyed the techniques and brought the style to their homes. These pieces became more for show; thus, indicating the influence of fashion trends for the time period.

It Embraces Culture

Art offers a glance at a people’s values and history, and exhibits hope to showcase the various belief systems and roles that people held. Was it a predominantly male society? That could be the first thought; however, it’s not really true. Women were often seen as a glorious image in artwork. According to a recent exhibit sponsored by Louise Gund, attendees are realizing that Buddhists held deep respect for the female role. The compositions depict the beauty and power of the woman figure. Some objects demonstrate women held several virtues such as religious devotion and mercy.

It Teaches Lessons

Looking back, researchers have found that emperors would commission Himalayan art to serve as gifts to other countries; thus, the pieces served little function as a religious piece but instead help historians understand the communications among rulers. As people look at each work, they learn about transactions and political associations, aiding in our discussion of how the world grew and changed. In addition, with some pieces tracing back long before in-depth writing, they help tell the stories of group. We learn that storytelling started early, embraced by many.

As you pass by a statue or canvas, take some time to read the description. Then step back and ponder. Consider how the pieces fit together, and what this helps you garner about their world and choices. This time is a journey into an older society. It’s an exploration that can give you a deeper revelation about mindsets, trends and historical interactions. Learn about how others influenced countries, who they prayed to, and what they appreciated. Then, think about how it all still connects to society today. They struggled. They created. They believed.