Thursday, May 4, 2017

Photo exhibition brings out rare works on Guanyin, the first female deity in Buddhism

By Divya A
A work on display at the exhibition (Express/Praveen Khanna)
INDIA---Even though Buddhism discourages idol worship, Buddhist art and literature is replete with god-like beings, many of whom are known as bodhisattvas. Avalokitesvara or “the Lord who contemplates”, is the most popular bodhisattva, considered to embody all the qualities of Buddha — compassion, knowledge and skilfullness. His cult has played an important role in the growth of Buddhist art and in some cultures, he is depicted as female. It is not known exactly when the Guanyin came to be regarded as female deity for the first time. A photographic exhibition on “Avalokitesvara/Guanyin: Feminine symbolism in Buddhist Art” in the Capital, highlights some rare artworks based on varied portrayals of Avalokitesvara from across the world — portraits, sketches, panels and sculptures done over more than a thousand years. [link]