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CALL FOR PAPERS: Female Monasticism and the Arts across Europe

Were any Buddhist nuns making art in Europe in the Medieval Period? We are curious to see if this conference answers that question in the positive. – Buddhist Art News

CALL FOR PAPERS: Female Monasticism and the Arts across Europe (London, 13-14 Mar 15) will be held at the Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 0RN.
Deadline: Dec 10, 2014

Sister Act: Female Monasticism and the Arts across Europe ca. 1250 – 1550 Keynote speaker: Professor Dr. Carola Jäggi, University of Zürich (CH)

This conference seeks to compare, contrast and juxtapose scholarly approaches to the art of Medieval and Renaissance religious women that have emerged in recent decades. Seeking to initiate a broader conversation, which is long overdue, we invite papers that examine female monastic art in terms of patronage, space, devotional practice, spiritual identity or material history, spanning all of Europe and bridging the gap between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.


Creating a painting for a visit from the Dalai Lama

Carmen Mensink is a Dutch painter working in the Tibetan thangka tradition and was recently commissioned to complete a banner welcoming the Dalai Lama on a visit to the Netherlands.

Besides the video above, a collection of stills can be viewed at the artist’s Facebook page here.


Inside Myanmar’s transition from isolation to openness

April 14, 2014

PBS is running a series of reports from Myanmar this week, beginning with a look at the political opening of the country and to follow with reports on how this is likely to affect culture.  


Myanmar, rocked by civil strife, has been kept isolated from the world for more than half a century. In recent years, however, the government has been proposing democratic reform and peace treaties with ethnic groups, prompting the U.S. to lift most sanctions. But how does a country move from being closed to being a more open society, and who is to gain? Jeffrey Brown reports from Myanmar.


In Conversation with Met Curator, Kurt Behrendt on “Tibet and India: Buddhist Traditions and Transformations”

Curatorial Liaison at Artsy
19 March 2014

Dissected Buddha, 2013, by Gonkar Gyatso

Gonkar Gyatso Dissected Buddha, 2013 Tibet and India: Buddhist Traditions and Transformations, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Tibet and India: Buddhist Traditions and Transformations,” on view through June 8 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, explores the Tibetan Buddhist tradition from two lenses: how contacts with North India in the 11th and 12th centuries led to a flourishing Buddhist Tradition in Tibet, and how the contemporary work of Tibetan Buddhist artists Gonkar Gyatso and Tenzing Rigdol is having an impact today. I recently toured the galleries with Kurt Behrendt, assistant curator and the show’s organizer, to learn more about the exhibition.

Liz Luna: Can you start by talking about the premise for the exhibition, and what drew you to this topic? Continue reading

Symbolism in Buddhist Art (video)

From the online journal Buddhadharma (at ShambhalaSun), a series of video links to lectures on Buddhist art by Nicholas Egan. –   Buddhist art news


Tibetan Gallery & Studio Presents a Lecture Series: Teachers & Transmissions in the Thanbhochi

Our premiere lecture, by Nicholas Egan, began to scratch the surface on the complexities of this ancient Tibetan art. We have taped it, and you can find links to the different segments below.

In the first segment, Nick discusses the difference between art for purpose and art for art’s sake.

In part two, Nick explores the iconography of Shakyamuni Buddha and his two primary disciples. Continue reading

Kyoto temple to show long-concealed Buddhist statues for the first time

Asahi Shimbun
14 November 2013

The three Buddhist statues in the foreground were hidden inside the larger Bishamonten standing statue at Bishamon-do Shourinji temple in Kyoto. (Noboru Tomura)

The three Buddhist statues in the foreground were hidden inside the larger Bishamonten standing statue at Bishamon-do Shourinji temple in Kyoto. (Noboru Tomura)

KYOTO–A temple here will offer the first public viewing of two 250-year-old Buddhist statues and one dating back a millennium that were hidden in the body of a larger statue.

The three statues were discovered in 2009 at Bishamon-do Shourinji temple in Higashiyama Ward. They had been concealed in a 30-centimeter-high, deep-red case within the waist of a 1.5-meter-high standing statue of Bishamonten, a god that protects Buddhism and the principal image of the temple.

The three statues are called Bishamonten Sanzonzo, or “three reverend statues of Bishamonten.”

The standing statue has also been secretly kept at the temple, a branch of the Tofukuji temple that heads the Tofukuji school of the Rinzai sect of Buddhism.

The three statues were shown to the media on Nov. 12. They will be available for public viewing starting on Nov. 15. Continue reading

“Open to openness”: How Buddhism influenced the creative life of Philadelphia artist Doris Staffel

Shambhala Sun
01 Nov 2013

Doris Staffel, Untitled, from the ‘White Tara’ series, c. 1972-1973

“I had to learn to be open to openness, which is not easy to do.” Such is the way Doris Staffel described how her 45 years of Buddhist practice informed her growth into one of the Philadelphia area’s most respected and beloved artists and teachers. Staffel passed away on September 13 at the age of 91. A celebration of her life, artistry, spirit, and legacy is to take place today at Philadelphia’s Arch Street Meeting House.

Doris Staffel began exploring Buddhist teachings and meditation in 1968, according to an extensivePhiladelphia Inquirer obituary, and this quickly colored how she taught. Betsey Batchelor, a student of Staffel’s at the Philadelphia College of Art in 1972, remembers this:

“Her teaching methods were influenced by Buddhism, Batchelor said. She recalled struggling with a painting in class once and hearing Mrs. Staffel softly say: ‘When you have a necklace and it has a knot in it, you don’t yank at it.’” Continue reading