IEAS Exhibit Series — Arts of Asia

Portraits of Buddhist Bhutan: Photographs by Mark Tuschman

 Portraits of Buddhist Bhutan: Photographs by Mark Tuschman image

February 19 – April 15, 2009
Monday through Friday, 9 am – 5 pm
IEAS Lobby, 2223 Fulton Street, 6th Floor

Buddhism is the state religion of Bhutan, and its institutions play a central role in society. Its monasteries are centers of continuing training. Buddhist ceremonial dances, choreographed over the centuries by religious leaders, serve not only spiritual functions but offer merit to all who observe. The visual arts, however beautiful, exist as expressions and enactments of Buddhist world-view, and as revelations of meaning for the initiate.

Known as the "Land of the Thunder Dragon," Bhutan has guarded its borders against much of twentieth-century development. With the acceptance by its king of a constitution in 2008, Bhutan may emerge as Asia's newest democracy. However, access to the country remains strictly controlled, and its traditional Buddhist culture as yet yields little to modernity.

American photographer Mark Tuschman seeks "to photograph people with compassion and dignity in the hope of communicating our interrelatedness." His images capture structures, rituals, arts, and individuals—young and old alike—that suggest the range of visual imagery associated with Buddhism in Bhutan.

This exhibit has been arranged as a complement to the exhibition The Dragon's Gift: The Sacred Arts of Bhutan at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. On March 4, IEAS will host a colloquium on Buddhist Bhutan with Dragon's Gift curator John Johnston and UC Berkeley Professor and Buddhism specialist Jacob Dalton.

See other IEAS Exhibits.