Enlightened Beings: Buddhism in Chinese Painting

September 1, 2012 – February 24, 2013

Freer Gallery of Art
Jefferson Drive and 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC

Gallery 13 Floor Plan

Buddhism arrived in China during the 1st century C.E. and quickly grew in popularity, exerting a profound impact on all aspects of Chinese art and culture. Enlightenment is the cornerstone of Buddhist thought and practice. Accordingly, the exhibition focuses on 4 main categories of enlightened being: the Buddha himself; bodhisattvas, devoted to the salvation of all sentient beings; luohan, who protect the dharma, or teachings of the Buddha; and eccentric Chan (Zen) monks and lineage masters. Fourteen of the 27 works on display date to the Song, Yuan, and early Ming dynasties (1000–1400 C.E.), and the remainder are from the 15th to 19th century during the later Ming and Qing.