The Art of Knowing in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Himalayas

March 25, 2023 – Ongoing
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One of a pair of book covers for a Dharani Samgraha (detail), Nepal, 1650–1700, opaque watercolor and gold on wood, Gift of Joyce and Kenneth Robbins, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, S2000.88.1–2

Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
1050 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC

B1, Gallery 22

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The Art of Knowing brings together highlights from our collections to explore religious and practical knowledge across time, space, and cultures. Featuring stone sculptures, gilt bronzes, and painted manuscripts from India, Nepal, Tibet, Bangladesh, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Cambodia, and Indonesia, this exhibition illuminates the critical role of visual culture in conveying Buddhist and Hindu teachings from the ninth to the twentieth centuries.

From Ganesha, the god of beginnings, to goddesses who personify wisdom, the artworks on view tell individual stories and reveal ways of knowing our world. The Art of Knowing asks how artists and objects shape wisdom traditions. How do shared images and designs reveal the movement of people and ideas across geographical regions? What do goddesses teach? And how does attaining knowledge end suffering?