March 17 to May 4, 2011Opening Reception: March 17, 2011The jewelry of the Himalayas has been reserved for the wealthy and powerful for centuries, reflecting social and political status, while expressing deeply ingrained views about what is beautiful. Often ornate, these private adornments for public display are resplendent with turquoise and coral, encrusted with pearl and lapis lazuli, with gold filigree embracing the stones and deities adorning them.
Their exquisite craftsmanship manifests the prestige and authority of those who wear them. In addition to serving as important cultural signifiers, Himalayan jewelry reflects the great religious traditions of Buddhism and Hinduism. As ornaments of faith, they are often metaphors for spiritual ideals. For instance, the bodhisattva of compassion holds a wish-fulfilling jewel, a symbol that suggests Buddhas power to fulfill our deepest desires. In Himalayan Buddhist art, the gods and goddesses are richly adorned with crowns, necklaces, earrings, armlets and the like. This adornment reflects cultural perspectives on sensuality and its role within the spiritual path.
This exhibition, brought to the public in association with Rossi & Rossi London, includes some of the finest gold jewelry from the Himalayas, providing a rare glimpse into the role of adornment, aesthetics and sensuality within Tibetan culture and Buddhism.
Also on display are select tangkas from Tibet Houses Repatriation Collection, a growing collection of Tibetan art and artifacts donated by those concerned about preserving Tibets unique and sacred culture.