MFA exhibit displays similarities between Chinese and Tibetan art
By Chris Bergeron
Tue Sep 01, 2009, 06:39 PM EDT
BOSTON – A pair of paintings of the black-faced Tibetan god Mahakala, wearing a necklace of skulls and squatting atop a corpse, greets visitors to a new exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts.
Resembling fraternal rather than identical twins, these two painted deities display similarities and differences that go to the heart of a fascinating exhibit, “Tibet/China Confluences.”
In the 15th or 16th century painting of uncertain origin, the god called “Big Black” has tiny teeth, a neat beard and three eyes bulging like pingpong balls from his round face.
Finished a century or so later, the second painting, from Tibet, depicts a fiercer, sword-bearing figure with sharp fangs, pressing a big foot into a dead man’s face.
Organized by Joseph Scheier-Dolberg, this informative exhibit showcases 20 rare paintings and printed works of astounding complexity from Tibet and China.
He said he put the exhibit together to use rare art from the MFA’s collection to reveal how two distinct cultures influenced one another and eventually created their own hybrid art.
For more beautiful thangka are check out our Tibetan Art Calendar.