2009 - 2041
The initial gallery opened in 2009, becoming the first in the UK dedicated to Buddhist sculpture and displaying highlights from the V&A’s world-class collection. In subsequent years, a two-phase redevelopment saw the establishment of The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Galleries of Buddhist Art, which draw together Buddhist sculptures, paintings, and ritual objects from across Asia to enrich the original installation. The narrative of the new galleries shows the evolution of concepts of Buddhahood and the Buddhist path and their representation in art. Themes have been developed in accordance with different types of icons: images of the Buddha Shakyamuni represent the founder of the religion and embodiment of the awakened state; Bodhisattva images from various cultures reveal the Bodhisattva path of the Mahayana and Vajrayana; Tantric images and wrathful guardians suggest the yogic path to enlightenment. Highlights include Thai banner paintings, exhibited for the first time, together with major new acquisitions. An exquisite gold-lacquered Buddha Shrine, which escaped the destruction of the Mandalay Palace in Myanmar during World War II, is also on show.