IN – BETWEEN, until 28th November, Rossi & Rossi, London
Asian Art in London is certainly a major celebration of things Asian and at Rossi & Rossi they are showing a remarkable group of 12th – 15th century Tibetan manuscript covers, crafted in carved wood. However, that is not all for they are also showing 30 contemporary Tibetan sculptures and pictures which reflect and “comment” on these remarkable surviving book covers.
Manuscript covers play a highly important role in Buddhist faith for they were seen as both a protector of and an entrance to sacred texts. They were a part of the Teaching (Dharma) and so were highly revered. Such covers with their ornate carving, decoration and gilding were usually ordered by a monastery or wealthy families. Hardwood was specially procured to make them.
Many of the covers that survive today do not have their Buddhist texts but they are still important survivors, for many were destroyed after the Chinese invasion of Tibet (1951). The contemporary artists in their paintings and sculptures are expressing the various ideas and emotions that these historic, significant and religious objects evoke through their survival.
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