Agents of the Buddha

A new exhibition opened last week in Room 3: Agents of the Buddha: 17th-century Japanese Sculptures of Fugen and Monju

This display is part of the Objects in Focus series, which aims to highlight objects from different parts of the collection.  These changing exhibitions are displayed in ‘Room 3’ and each last for about 8 weeks.  This allows the museum to showcase important objects from the collection that many visitors may not otherwise get the chance to see, and it allows the curators to experiment with different exhibition styles and designs.

The focus of the current exhibition is on two sculptures of bodhisattvas – Fugen and Monju – created by a sculptor named Kōyū (1630–1689), one of the leading artists of his day. 

The room is softly lit and has a recording of Buddhist chanting playing in the background.  The elements of sound and light integrated into the design of the exhibition are intended to evoke the experience of entering a Japanese Buddhist temple.

If you cannot make it to London to check out the exhibition, you can learn about these two sculptures through our collections online database: