Buddhist Sculptures in the Exhibition
Freestanding images of the Buddha appeared by the second century CE, and the practice of depicting narratives – in particular, scenes of the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, first sermon and death – was extremely popular. Buddhist art and sculpture include an array of divinities and styles, from the humble follower of the faith to compassionate saviours with divine powers. Deities are recognized through their attributes, their poses and hand gestures (mudrās). Early Buddhist images carved in stone display a calm facial expression, elongated earlobes, and elegant draped monastic robes. Many early sculptures were made from wood, and later bronze sculptures also played an important role in the diffusion of Buddhism. The following section presents major works of mainly Chinese Buddhist sculpture from local Hong Kong galleries and museums.