Masterworks, a regularly changing exhibition at the Rubin, explores major strands in the development of Himalayan art, covering a period of over one thousand years, and presents regional artistic traditions in their broad cultural, geographic, historical, and stylistic contexts. The 2018 iteration of this exhibition draws primarily from the Rubin collection and is augmented by a few select long-term loans.
Masterworks is organized geographically, showcasing the diverse regional traditions of western Tibet, central Tibet, eastern Tibet, and Bhutan in relation to the neighboring areas of Eastern India, Kashmir, Nepal, China, and Mongolia. Highlights from the exhibition include:
● An elegant 12th-century Lotus Mandala from northeastern India which resembles a flower, with mechanical hinges that allow the petals to open, revealing the central deity surrounded by eight dancing yoginis.
●Durga Killing the Buffalo Demon, a powerful 13th-century Nepalese depiction of the goddess at the climactic moment of her victory, one of the great sculptural treasures of the Rubin Museum.
● A fearsome Bhutanese mask depicting one of the eight manifestations of the wizard and founding saint of Tibetan Buddhism, Padmasambhava, the subject of the Rubin exhibition The Second Buddha: Master of Time. It is on long-term loan from the Bruce Miller Collection.
● An extremely refined 19th-century Tibetan painting depicting scenes from the life of the Indian scholar Shantarakshita, including the seminal monument of his founding Tibet’s first monastery in the 8th century.
A special area of the gallery is devoted to an extensive display of all 59 folios of The White Beryl, a prominent recent acquisition and an exquisitely illuminated manuscript illustrating the Tibetan system of elemental divination.
Curated by Karl Debreczeny
Support of this exhibition has been provided by contributors to the 2018 Exhibitions Fund.