Gateway to Himalayan Art exhibition brings ancient Buddhist relics to Lehigh Valley

March 5, 2023 1:00PM
LUAG Main Gallery, Zoellner Arts Center

BETHLEHEM, Pa. — Dozens of red crates full of carefully packed Buddhist relics landed at Lehigh University Art Galleries last year.

They now have been opened up, and their contents — some of them thousands of years old — are on display.

  • 'Gateway to Himalayan Art' is running at the Lehigh University Art Galleries until May 26
  • It showcases a number of ancient Buddhist art pieces, mainly from the Himalayan region
  • The pieces are borrowed from the Rubin Museum of Art in New York
  • It's free to visit and open to the public

"Well, some of the crates contain paintings, and a particular type of painting that's included in the exhibition [is] called Thangka, which are scroll paintings," William Crow, Director of the LUAG said.
Crow made that comment last year, while gleefully watching a team of staff wearing gloves delicately pull them out of the wooden box.

"These are paintings that take different forms, and really tell us about the life of the Buddha of different characters and figures that are from the Buddhist belief system or pantheon," he said.

The art comes from the Rubin Museum of Art in New York.

Elena Pakhoutova, Rubin's Senior Curator of Himalayan Art, said she is excited to share the work.

"So sometimes this kind of art and culture just falls through the cracks," Pakhoutova said.

"But they offer so much to people, and we just wanted to share that and create this resource, which has not been available to people who just want to learn the basic and fundamental things about Himalayan art."

Pakhoutova also said people don't need to be an expert on the traditions and history of Himalayan art to get something out of visiting.

Read the full article on | By Julian Abraham

Published March 5, 2023 at 1:00 PM EST

Image: A figure of Bodhisattva Kshitigarbha, a version of the Buddha, on display at LUAG. Lehigh University Art Galleries/ Rubin Museum of Art.