Out and About: Buddhism Exhibition at the British Library (Anna Cottle, ITP Coordinator)

Written by Anna Cottle, ITP Coordinator

This new exhibition at the British Library asks, how did Buddhism grow from its beginnings in India? What inspired its practice? I visited last week and encountered beautiful manuscripts, artworks, scrolls, artefacts and amazing books. The collection spans 20 countries and 2,000 years including many objects from Nepal.

This made me think of Roshan Mishra’s inspiring new project documenting Nepali objects from different collections around the world globalnepalimuseum.com. Roshan is Director of the Taragaon Museum in Nepal and joined us in 2018 for the ITP Summer Programme and has recently been working on this new venture.

A soft soundtrack, low lighting and the warm red painted walls of the exhibition space makes for a immersive, mesmerising experience during which I viewed Buddhist scripture, handmade objects, sacred texts and silk scrolls. I learnt how Buddhism developed writing techniques across Asia, sending out stories and ideas.

Book of the Buddha’s Names, Buddhanama Sutra, Mogao Caves, Dunhuang, China, 9th or 10th century.

Everyday modern life in Buddhist communities was presented via contemporary art from Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan, alongside ritual objects to help the visitor learn about current Buddhist customs, beliefs and the relevance of this today.

The principles of Buddhism are explained as; Mindfulness. Compassion. Tolerance. A stunning exhibition!

More information about the exhibition can be found here.