Category Archives: France

Facelift for little-known Paris pagoda that houses 10-metre Miró Buddha

The golden Buddha statue inside the Grande Pagode. Photograph: Francois Guillot/AFP/Getty Images Kim Willsher

The golden Buddha statue inside the Grande Pagode. Photograph: Francois Guillot/AFP/Getty Images
Kim Willsher

Most of those strolling around the Lac Daumesnil are unaware of the magnificent Grande Pagode, but now it is hoping to attract more visitors

The Guardian
Sunday 31 May 2015 11.20 EDT

Hidden in a wood on the outskirts of Paris is an African pavilion-turned-pagoda that houses the largest Buddha in Europe, made in the Paris atelier of the Spanish artist Joan Miró.

The Grande Pagode is an eclectic cultural, religious and artistic treasure, but most of those strolling and jogging around the Lac Daumesnil in the Bois de Vincennes, do not even know it is there.

Now France’s Buddhist community, which celebrated the reopening of the pagoda this weekend after a €1m (£720,000) facelift, is hoping to attract new visitors.

Unveiling the renovated listed building, Liliane Lefait, administrator of the French Buddhist Union – an umbrella group for several Buddhist organisations set up following the waves of immigration from Vietnam and south Asia in the 1960s – said: “This place is open for everyone and anyone to visit. It’s a very calming, peaceful place. I feel calm just coming here, even without praying.”

Despite it being 28 metres (92ft) high, you cannot see the pagoda for the trees. It was originally built in 1931 as the Cameroon pavilion for the international colonial exhibition and was constructed to resemble a traditional African home – but three times the size – using long-established materials and decorations. Continue reading

Bangkok Exhibit: Monet in a photograph

Bangkok Post
23 Feb 2014

Daniel Cordonnier hates two things: air conditioners and God. But only recently has he been able to give full expression to his feelings. For much of his life the Parisian was dispassionate, his creative desires and ambitions stifled as he pursued a lucrative business manufacturing air conditioners. Then he remembered a day in his childhood that changed everything.

His parents were poor and devout Christians, and he remembers them fondly. With the challenge of putting food on the table, there was little room for expression. Feeling bombarded with dogma at home and in his community, Cordonnier would escape to the modern art museums of Paris. On one trip, he saw a piece he would never forget: a single red arch painted by a Japanese artist on a bare white wall.

This, for Cordonnier, spoke more of human existence than anything he was taught from the Bible. In the red arch, he saw the whole spectrum of humanity before him: a continual flow of action, one that begins and ends with life. Continue reading

Film: Buddha 2 premieres in Paris

28 Jan 2014

Osamu Tezuka releases the follow-up to his 2011 film ”Buddha: The Great Departure.” Alicia Powell reports.


To view the video report, follow the [link].

Japanese musicians, Buddhist monks plan jazz sutra for 3/11 event in Paris

The Asahi Shinbum
Kyoko Tanaka/ Staff Writer

Jazz trumpeter Terumasa Hino, second from left, and Ryuko Kimura, far right, and other monks collaborate to create a CD featuring jazz and a Buddhist sutra in September 2009.

KYOTO–Japanese musicians and Buddhist monks will perform a rare collaboration of a sutra set to the soothing sounds of jazz in Paris in March to mark the third anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.

“We hope to give a performance expressing the spirituality and pride of the Japanese,” said Hikaru Kawakami, a producer with Rag International Music Co., which is holding the event at the Japan Cultural Institute in Paris on March 7-8.

The event was inspired by “Jiai Love,” a 2010 CD featuring a Buddhist sutra and jazz, by jazz musicians Terumasa Hino and Yosuke Yamamoto and other artists. It was produced by Rag International Music in Kyoto’s Nakagyo Ward, which operates a live house and studios. Continue reading

Hiroshi Sugimoto: Accelerated Buddha

sugimoto-exhibitionOctober 10, 2013 – January 26, 2014

On the occasion of its 20th exhibition, the Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent gives a carte blanche to Japanese artist, Hiroshi Sugimoto. For Accelerated Buddha, the Fondation juxtaposes Sugimoto’s artworks with antique masterpieces from his personnal collection.

The works include an art video of the thousand Bodhisattva of Sanjûsangendo — a 13th century temple in Kyoto — will be presented. A process of accelerated photographs makes us see the thousand Buddhas becoming a million.

Hiroshi Sugimoto is a major figure in contemporary photography who pioneered the use of very long exposure times. His work explores time and man’s relationship with reality.

Curators : Hiroshi Sugimoto / Emmanuelle de Montgazon

Set designers : Hiroshi Sugimoto / Christophe Martin


M S University faculty member to study Buddhist art of Gujarat and Paris

Times of India
13 October, 2013

VADODARA: A faculty member of M S University will draw parallels between Buddhist art and architecture of Gujarat with that in Paris.

Dr Ambika Patel, curator and assistant professor with department of archaeology and ancient history at faculty of arts, has been selected for Indo French Social Science Exchange Fellowship 2013 for the project. Dr Patel has received the combined fellowship from the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the Foundation Maison des Sciences de l’homme (FMSH) of Paris.

She is associated with the Centre de Recherche sur I’Extreme-Orient de Paris-Sorbonne (CREOPS) at University of Paris for a pilot research project on Buddhist art and architecture of Gujarat and its parallels. Continue reading

Sacred Art Takes Paris! Buddhist Textile Artist Enters Contemporary Art Competition

Digital Journal
August 20, 2013

Leslie Rinchen-Wongmo, California Buddhist textile artist of Threads of Awakening has entered her silk appliqué thangkas in the worldwide contemporary art competition Art Takes Paris!

Organized by See.Me, the contest offers artists the possibility of international publicity, an exhibit in Paris, and $20,000 in cash awards. If Rinchen-Wongmo wins an award, her winnings will further the development of Stitching Buddhas, an online teaching program through which she documents and shares the Tibetan appliqué tradition with creative Buddhist fabric lovers around the world. Continue reading

Paris fashion models pose as Zen rock garden


Fashion House Viktor & Rolf stage a tableau vivant of the Zen rock garden in Kyoto’s Ryoanji temple on the runway during their Haute Couture collection show in Paris on July 3. (Hirokazu Ohara)

Asahi Shimbun
July 06, 2013

By MAKIKO TAKAHASHI/ Senior Staff Writer

PARIS–A Zen-themed tableau vivant of the world-famous rock garden in Kyoto’s Ryoanji temple drew thunderous applause from the audience here on July 3 during the Haute Couture autumn/winter 2013 collection show.

The performance was staged by Viktor & Rolf, the Netherlands-based fashion house of Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren.

The two designers began the show sitting cross-legged, as if meditating, on a stage that reproduced the garden faithfully, down to details like the wavy raked patterns on the white sand. Models clad in stone-colored silk dresses later joined them one after another and quietly took different positions to mimic the garden rocks.

The designers said they felt a need to express a feeling of serenity and nothingness, for which the simplicity of the rock garden in the Japanese Zen temple was a perfect match.
By MAKIKO TAKAHASHI/ Senior Staff Writer


Bucking French Tradition, City Sets Up a Kind of Holy Quarter

April 2, 2013

BUSSY SAINT-GEORGES, France — Set above a sweep of green farmland, the crumbling stone chapel at the center of this village met the spiritual requirements of its Roman Catholic residents for nearly four centuries. But Bussy Saint-Georges is no longer just a village.

Tile-roofed homes in the new city, which counted a mere 500 souls in 1985 but grew to 25,000.

It is now a “new city” of 25,000, a planned development of hundreds of cream-colored apartment complexes, tile-roofed houses, schools, banks, shops and parks, linked to nearby Paris with a highway and a regional train. A great many of its residents are now immigrants from the former colonies of North and West Africa, the Antilles, China, Laos and elsewhere — a new France in concentrate — and the city’s religious needs are no longer as modest.

And so at the edge of town, an “Esplanade of the Religions” is under construction, a sort of holy quarter in the fields that includes a mosque, a synagogue, a Laotian Buddhist pagoda and a $20 million Taiwanese Buddhist temple, said to be Europe’s largest. Nearby, a small cross already overlooks the city from atop the 115-foot glass spire of an enormous Roman Catholic church, built at the turn of the century about a mile from the old chapel. Continue reading

Jacques Barrère Gallery to present Chinese Buddhist sculptures at the 26th Biennale des Antiquaires

Bodhisattva Guanyin. Afzelia wood with gold and polychrome pigments, China, Jin Dynasty. Dated “5th month of the Jiachen year of the Dading era”, (May 1184). Height : 131 cm.

PARIS.- The Song dynasty is the founding period of the modern Chinese culture. Inventions such as gunpowder, paper currency and the printing technique are all attributed to the Chinese community, as well as developed irrigation techniques and important reforms which stimulated the development of agriculture.

In the arts, classical painting displaying the fusion of poetry and calligraphy reached its peak during this period. In the temples of Shanxi, Buddhist sculpture evolved from the Romanesque period and blossomed into a gothic style, privileging wood over stone.

For the 26th Biennale des Antiquaires, the Jacques Barrère Gallery presents an important collection of Chinese Buddhist sculptures from the Song dynasty. Three large standing Bodhisattvas will form the heart of this selection. Destined to decorate the temples in Shanxi, these graceful sculptures reveal a proud yet gracious presence, icons of Chinese gothic sculpture. Continue reading