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Faces of Compassion

Price: $ 39.95

Face of Commpassion:
Chinese Religious Sculpture from Private Collections

The introduction of Buddhism into China during the Han period (206 B.C. - A.D. 220) proved to be a major turning point in the history of Chinese sculpture. For as well as introducing fresh subject matter and ideas, Buddhist art also lent new stimulus to the art of China's indigenous religion, Daoism. Both religions flourished side by side, while associated objects and statues became the dominant force in Chinese sculpture.

The religious sculptures shown here emanate from a wide variety of provenances including caves, grottoes, temples and private residences. Far removed from their original surroundings, they now grace private collections in Taiwan and elsewhere overseas. What joy it gives to encounter these faces of compassion -- faces from all over China, bearing the traces of vastly different eras of Chinese history.

Unlike in the West, Chinese sculptors never sought personal fame. Yet sculpture from Shandong, Shanxi, Sichuan, Hebei and other areas does have a distinctive regional character. Local materials allied to regional styles made it possible for sculptors to enter into a dialogue with their environment while bringing wood and stone to life in sculptural form. Today, centuries later, it is important to appreciate the background of these religious sculptures as they resonate with the majesty of history and speak to us in the deep voice of rocks and mountains.

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