Sakyamuni’s shoulders appear to sink in, providing a visual reference to his starvation. Buddhist artists from other regions of Asia often exaggerated this effect. Possibly, artists also sought to emphasize Sakyamuni’s temperance or to highlight the human suffering that consumed much of his road to nirvana.
Yuan artists emphasized the Buddha’s contemplative nature and devotion to Buddhist ideals. His enlightenment opened the door for his followers to achieve nirvana in their turn.
—Leta Woller, education–visitor engagement intern 2012-2013
Join the conversation!
How far are you willing to go for something you believe in? Sakyamuni came to the brink of starvation in his search for enlightenment. Many people claim that they would risk anything for their family and friends. Do you believe strongly enough about something to say the same? Is there a point at which you should value belief over your own life?
Take a look at these works at the BMA and beyond, and join the conversation below!
From the BMA's collection:
Charles Moore’s Photography of the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham:
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