Himalayan Art Essay

Himalayan Art Essay

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Art was largely used to express traditions in the Himalayan region. Once upon Many Times is an exhibition at Rubin Museum of Art representing a wide range of visual narratives and reproductions of temple murals, which can be regarded as exceptional examples of Himalayan art based upon Tibetan myths and legends. Furthermore, this paper will analyze the color arrangement, composition, proportion, hierarchy and motifs of the historical narrative Shantarakshita and scenes of his life and the Drowa Sangmo mural represented at the exhibition Once upon Many Times.

The Drowa Sangmo Mural and the portrait of Shantarakshita are both essential examples of Himalayan Buddhist art, telling stories not just of the literal history of Buddhism but also of the underlying cultural forces and religious meanings at play. Taking a closer look at the painting Shantarakshita and Scenes of His Life in Tibet and the Drowa Sangmo mural, it can be stated that the color scheme, proportion and scale of these objects are similar, but significant differences can be found in the form, hierarchy and composition of these objects which can be explained with disparity in the main themes of these objects and materials.
The Drowa Sangmo Mural is painted directly on the wall of a temple in Tibet; its religious context is literally inseparable from the painting. The Drowa Sangmo Mural also depicts in two-dimensional format the dynamism of Tibetan opera: another art form that summarizes the complexity of Tibetan culture and the link between art, culture, and religion. On the other hand, Shantarakshita is a portrait of a monk who was instrumental in bringing Buddhism to Tibet. Both the Drowa Sangmo Mural and the portrait of the monk Shantarakshita show how historical...


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...form of the painting was replaced with a more rectangular shape. Another important aspect is the hierarchy of the depicted figures, which depends upon the spiritual wishes of priorities and affects the choice and positioning of figures. Most of these features, including the religious concerns, color scheme, shape composition and hierarchy are observed in the objects under analysis, which makes them parts of the stylistic movements of their time.

Regarding the metaphorical meaning of the objects, the main conclusion which can be drawn from the narrative Shantarakshita and scenes of his life and the Drowa Sangmo mural is the importance of practicing Buddhism. By involving the depicted figures into the historical and legendary context and narrating different episodes form their lives, the artists emphasized the main motif of belief and its place in people’s lives.

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