These two gorgeous bronzes are from a show called “Casting the Divine: Sculptures of the Nyingjei Lam Collection”, which presents a group of works on long-term loan to the Rubin Museum of Himalayan art in New York. A wall text explains that the nudity of the figure at right, made in northeastern India in something like the year 1300, only makes sense if it was made for use in the Jain religion. The sculpture at left, from Tibet and maybe 100 years younger, shows the Budhha reaching out to keep touch with the earth. Both figures are, of course, involved with the spirit: the Jain is a naked ascetic and the Budhha always aims to transcend. But both works, in their sheer and glorious materiality, make a secret plea for the things of this world.
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