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What’s Up at the BMA: Guanyin

/ What's Up at the BMA

Did you know that the BMA’s galleries are always changing? A mere 12% of the Museum’s collection of objects from around the world is on view at any given time. Our curators and preparatory team are constantly refreshing the gallery spaces, which means every time you visit the Museum you’ll discover something different. Each month, we highlight a new work, and show you “what’s up” at the Museum right now.

Our latest exhibition, Afterlife: Asian Art from the Weldon Collection, showcases how art still has life after it fulfills its original purpose, but it also reveals how personal collections of art from private collectors can transform the galleries of a museum.

Of all the significant works in this exhibition, one that you cannot miss is this Ming dynasty sculpture of Guanyin, the Buddhist Deity of Mercy. Guanyin roughly translates to “the one who hears the cries of the world” and her seated position and serene expression lets us know she is listening. Although images of Guanyin were very popular in Ming dynasty China, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has the only other sculpture similar to this one, so it’s certainly something you don’t want to miss.

In this sculpture’s first life, she was most likely displayed on a Buddhist shrine and served as a reminder to be compassionate and kind. In this sculpture’s afterlife, it was a beloved work of art displayed in the Weldon’s apartment and now it is a highlight of a BMA exhibition.

Afterlife: Asian Art from the Weldon Collection closes on January 28, so hurry in to see Guanyin soon!