MET Returns Artifacts To India; Celebrates Buddhist Art In New Exhibition
India-West News Desk
NEW YORK, NY– The exhibition ‘Tree & Serpent: Early Buddhist Art in India, 200 BCE–400 CE will run from July 21 to November 13, 2023, at the Met, here.
A special preview and reception to celebrate the opening of the exhibition was held at the museum on July 17 and was attended by US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti, India’s Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu, Chairperson of Reliance Foundation Nita M Ambani, Consul General of India in New York Randhir Jaiswal, among others.
John Guy, the curator for South Asian Work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art while speaking about the museum’s current exhibit on Buddha, Guy expressed gratitude to the national museums of India and the governments of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh for their contributions. He described the exhibition as a celebration of the birth of Buddhist art, which played a vital role in stimulating Indian art as a whole.
Guy highlighted the Stupas and monasteries as the first grand structures built on the Indian landscape, apart from cities. These monumental structures, adorned with beautifully carved panels depicting the life of Buddha, served as the inspiration for Indian art.
The exhibition showcases over 140 objects loaned from collections worldwide, tracing the transformation of pre-Buddhist figurative sculpture into the art of a new religion. It highlights stone sculptures created for Stupas and new discoveries from a monastic site in South India.
Garcetti emphasized that Buddhism originated in India and called it a “gift” bestowed upon the world by the country. He expressed gratitude for India’s contributions throughout history, noting that Indian art even reached Rome.
Guy also took time to hail the repatriation of artifacts to India by the museum as “significant” and emphasized the evolving understanding of cultural properties in present times. He stated that despite many objects not being requested, the MET is actively involved in returning them to India and other countries.
The Indian consulate in New York organized a repatriation ceremony for 105 trafficked antiquities handed over by the US. These valuable antiquities will soon be transported back to India as part of the Indian government’s ongoing efforts to retrieve stolen Indian heritage and culture. (with inputs from ANI)