Essay on Asian Art Museum in San Francisco

1315 Words Oct 16th, 2012 6 Pages
Asian Art Museum in San Francisco

During the first week of September, I made a trip with a friend to the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. Every first Sunday of the month, admission into the museum is free. It is my first time to visit there and I was most impressed with the huge number of Buddhas on display. Most of the pieces are in excellent condition. It is amazing 600-year-old pottery and all these stone statues of Buddha that looks like it was made yesterday. What really brings this place to life for me are the brilliant combination of social mixers and live performance events mixed with cultural education.
Asian Art Museum in San Francisco has a collection of about 17,000 objects of art and artifacts from all major
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Moreover, with origins in Pakistan, it is no wonder that their regional depiction of Maitreya is much different than the Chinese Buddhist images I’m used to.
Over the centuries, two main branches of Buddhism emerged: a transmission that traveled to Southeast Asia, and a transmission that evolved in East Asia.
1. Theravada Buddhism
Theravada is believed to be the oldest form of Buddhism. The term itself comes into use later, but the Theravada tradition upholds the monastic path and adheres to the oldest surviving recorded sayings of the Buddha, collectively called the Pali canon. These original texts were set down in the Pali language by monks in Sri Lanka in the first century ce. Prior to this codification, teachings had been transmitted orally, and concern arose that original texts must be preserved in light of the growing heterodoxy that was
developing in India. Theravada recognizes the primacy and humanity of the historical Buddha. The Buddha was an exemplary figure. Enlightenment is an arduous task, available only to monks who explicitly pursue the path of Shakyamuni himself. Theravada is the dominant form of Buddhism today in Sri Lanka as well as Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. The subject matter of Buddhist art from these traditions focuses on life events of the Buddha.

2. Mahayana Buddhism
Mahayana is a philosophical movement that proclaimed the possibility of universal salvation, offering…