Tag Archives: buddha

How We Do What We Do

Buddhist Blog Project Photo

“Can you please explain what you’re doing?” is a question we hear daily. From a visitor’s perspective it doesn’t look like we’re doing much. Basically, we observe and document. A thorough condition report is the first step in any conservation treatment; we need to know what we’re dealing with. These murals are so large that […]

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Getting the Murals to the Museum

C492 with accession numbers

It’s important to understand how an object actually comes into the museum. The Buddhist murals in the Rotunda are comprised of many different sized panels which entered the museum in stages.  The mural depicting Tejaprabha Buddha came into the museum incomplete in 1926.  You can see the panels are actually framed in large wooden borders […]

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What ARE the Buddhist Murals Made Of?

mural constructionv3

The questions most frequently asked of us while working on the Buddhist murals in the Chinese rotunda involve what the murals are made of. Often people presume they are frescoes. True fresco is done on wet plaster. The pigments used in a fresco are mixed with water and applied to a wet plaster surface. A […]

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Standing Buddha [Object of the Day #65]

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This haloed Buddha was made in the ancient city of Gandhara in modern day Pakistan/Afghanistan in the 2nd Century AD. He stands on a plinth carved with two rosettes. His missing hands would have been held in mudras or hand gestures representing reassurance and wish fulfillment. The style of the flowing robe and curvy hair is […]

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Buddha Dispelling Fear [Object of the Day #49]

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This sculpture from the 16 century, from Thailand, shows a standing Buddha. He stands very straight, in the center of a lotus throne and is draped in a transparent robe and sarong-like undergarment. His body is shown with large, square shoulders and a chiseled waist line which, taken allegorically, makes a connection between his physical […]

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Standing Buddha Statue [Object of the Day #28]

Standing Buddha Statue

This statue depicts the Buddha standing in a classic Mandalay position. The statue dates back to the 19th century and was crafted in Burma. In the Buddha’s left hand he holds up his robe revealing the ornate gilding that covers a glass inlay. In his right hand he holds out a myrobalan seed (Terminalia chebula). The […]

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Seated Luohan from China [Object of the Day #17]

Seated Luohan

The Penn Museum’s luohan is one of the most famous and important pieces in the museum’s collection. The fact that it is slightly larger than life size makes it a marvel of technology. Firing something so big  is extremely hard to do without destroying the piece in the process.  The modeled  facial features also imply […]

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Xuanzang and the Silk Road Pt. 4

Back in June of 2010 I wrote about travelling to the Nara National Museum for an exhibition about China’s influence on Japan during the Tang Dynasty. see:  http://penn.museum/blog/museum/crating-and-packing/ During my trip I visited a temple called Yakushi-ji Temple.    Near the entrance there was one object that  caught my eye, a replica of the pedestal […]

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Xuanzang and the Silk Road Pt. 2

In my last post I introduced a Japanese painting currently hanging in the Director’s office, here is the basic information about the piece: Title: Buddha with Sixteen Benign Deities (Shaka juuroku zenshin)  釈迦十六善神 Period: Late 17th – Early 18th century Material: Ink and Color on Silk Provenience: Japan Artist: Signed Shuho What is going on […]

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Mount Phousi

Yes, that is an Oreo cookie. While sight seeing around Luang Prabang, we had to start with the climb up Mount Phousi. The route is peppered with marigolds and sticky rice offerings. Little orange candles also pop up in unexpected spots. Tourists were buzzing around the Wat snapping photos of other tourists smiling in front […]

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