Explore the origins, philosophy and contemporary relevance of Buddhism, from its beginnings in India in the 6th century BC to having 1 billion followers worldwide today
Featuring rare treasures from the British Library’s collection, including colourful scrolls, unique cosmologies, lavishly painted manuscripts and temple banners, and bejewelled books spanning 2,000 years and 20 countries, this exhibition highlights the outstanding aesthetic beauty of Buddhist manuscripts and printed works in the largest display of its kind ever held at the Library.
Through sacred scriptures written on tree bark, palm leaves, ivory and gold to exquisite silk scrolls of major Sutras, follow the life of Buddha and his many incarnations, and discover how Buddhism was pivotal in developing writing and printing techniques to transmit stories and ideas across Asia.
Contemporary art, calming ambient film and audio, and ritual objects provide a window onto everyday life in Buddhist communities, allowing you to understand current customs and beliefs, gain insight into meditative practices and the Buddhist concepts of compassion and loving-kindness, and even experience the feeling of stepping into a monastic library.
Before you leave, reflect on how knowledge and values have been shared over the centuries despite the diversity of Buddhist cultures around the world, examine the enduring iconography of Buddha and consider what it means to be Buddhist today.
The British Library
96 Euston Road
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Opening times and visitor information
Full Price: £14.00
Senior 60+: £12.00
Registered Unemployed: £7.00
National Art Pass Senior: £6.00
Child 11 and Under : £0.00
Child 12-17: £7.00
National Art Pass: £7.00
A voluntary donation can be added over the regular ticket price. You will be helping the Library to conserve and share its collection. If you are a UK tax-payer and ‘Gift Aid’ your donation, the Library can reclaim the tax you have paid.
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