Sackler Gallery: The Buddhist Cave Temples of Xiangtangshan


February 26–July 31, 2011
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Washington, DC

Majestic sixth-century Chinese Buddhist sculpture is combined with 3-D imaging technology in this exploration of one of the most important groups of Buddhist devotional sites in early medieval China. Carved into the mountains of northern China, the Buddhist cave temples of Xiangtangshan (pronounced “shahng-tahng-shahn”) were the crowning cultural achievement of the Northern Qi dynasty (550–77 CE). Once home to a magnificent array of sculptures—monumental Buddhas, divine attendant figures, and crouching monsters framed by floral motifs—the limestone caves were severely damaged in the first half of the twentieth century, when their contents were chiseled away and offered for sale on the international art market.

(source: Sackler Gallery website)

Please feel free to share your impressions of the exhibit.

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2 thoughts on “Sackler Gallery: The Buddhist Cave Temples of Xiangtangshan

  1. I went to see this exhibit at the Sackler yesterday and it was absolutely exquisite. The imaging puts you right in the caves! Many artifacts from the site on display as well. Highly inspirational to see these artifacts from the 6th century.

    The Freer Museum which is connected to the Sackler has a permanent exhibit (though much smaller) on display from Xiangtangshan but contains a wide variety of Chinese Buddhist artwork. All very beautiful and very inspiring.

    The Sackler exhibit runs to the end of July.

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