Buddhist manuscripts on show at the British Library

Buddhism at the British Library poster © British Library Board

The British Library (25 October 2019 – 23 February 2020) will explore the roots, philosophy and contemporary relevance of Buddhism from its beginnings in north India in the 6th century BC to having over 500 million followers across the world today.

Encompassing one of the richest collections of Asian manuscripts in the world, the British Library holds finely illuminated copies of Buddhist scriptures, literary works, historical narratives, and works on Buddhist cosmology, ceremonies and ritual practices.

From sacred scriptures written on tree bark, palm leaves and gold to silk scrolls of major sutras, Buddhism was pivotal in developing writing and printing techniques to transmit ideas and educate people across Asia.

Exploring the main schools of Buddhism across 20 countries over 2,000 years, the exhibition will highlight the theory, practice and art of Buddhism, examine the enduring iconography of Buddha and consider what it means to be Buddhist today.

Click any image below for a larger view of these wonderful photos.

Jana Igunma, lead curator of Buddhism at the British Library, said:
‘Buddhism continues to inspire diverse artistic expression and lifestyles and, with the concept of mindfulness becoming mainstream, we are excited to host the British Library’s largest ever display of Buddhist collections, shining a light on the Library’s lesser-known treasures from across the world.’

Buddhism at the British Library will be accompanied by a programme of events and a richly-illustrated book, Buddhism: Origins, Traditions and Contemporary Life, which will be available in hardback and paperback from the British Library shop and all good bookshops.

Many thanks to the British Library Board.

British Library opening hours are here and ticket prices are as follows:
Full Price: £14.00  Senior 60+: £12.00
Student / Registered Unemployed / Disabled / National Art Pass / Child 12-17: £7.00

The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world’s greatest research libraries. It provides world class information services to the academic, business, research and scientific communities and offers unparalleled access to the world’s largest and most comprehensive research collection.

The Library’s collection has developed over 250 years and exceeds 150 million separate items representing every age of written civilisation and includes books, journals, manuscripts, maps, stamps, music, patents, photographs, newspapers and sound recordings in all written and spoken languages. Up to 10 million people visit the British Library website – http://www.bl.uk – every year where they can view up to 4 million digitised collection items and over 40 million pages.

Always worth a visit if you are in London.



Categories: Art, Buddhism, Encyclopedia

Tags: , , ,

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