Hosted by: National Museum of China, Shandong Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism (Shandong Provincial Bureau of Cultural Heritage), the People's Government of Binzhou City, Shandong Province
Organized by: Culture and Tourism Bureau of Bo'xing County, Bo'xing Museum
Supported by: Culture and Tourism Bureau of Binzhou City, the People's Government of Bo'xing County
During the Han Dynasties (202 B.C.-A.D. 220), white horses carried Buddha statues and Buddhist scriptures to Luoyang. The Emperor Ming of Han built the White Horse Temple, which marked the official introduction of Buddhism into China and fully demonstrated the important role of Buddha statues and Buddhist temples in the spread of Buddhism. After two thousand years of development, the core content of Buddhist culture has been deeply integrated into the mainstream culture of the Chinese nation and has become an indispensable part of China's fine traditional culture. Shandong is one of the most active areas of Buddhism in China. From the Northern Dynasty to the Sui Dynasty, during the process of national integration and cultural exchange, the northern part of Shandong with Qingzhou at the center, covering Bo'xing, Linqu, Zhucheng, Qingzhou and Jinan, formed a system of Buddhist sculpture that integrated the northern and southern styles.
Bo'xing is one of the representative regions of the art of Buddhist sculpture in Shandong Province. Its artistic style is influenced by Qingzhou in Shandong Province and Dingzhou in Hebei Province, while forming distinctive regional characteristics and showing tremendous inclusiveness. The materials of Buddhist sculpture from Bo'xing are diverse, with flexible shapes and unique themes. The gilded bronze sculptures are often engraved with chronological inscriptions, starting from the second year of the Taihe reign of the Northern Wei Dynasty (A.D. 478) to the third year of the Renshou reign of the Sui Dynasty (A.D. 603). With a relatively complete development sequence lasting for 125 years, they are rare among regional Buddhist sculptures. The Buddhist sculptures from Bo'xing were mostly built by laymen, reflecting the development of Buddhism among the people and the prosperity of Buddhist temple culture. After Buddhism was introduced into China, it integrated with Chinese Confucian and Taoist culture and gradually formed a Buddhist culture with Chinese characteristics. It left a profound impact on the religious beliefs, philosophical concepts, literature and arts, etiquette and customs of the Chinese people.
“Mirror of the Mind: An Exhibition of Buddhist Sculpture from Bo'xing, Shandong Province” is hosted by the National Museum of China, the Shandong Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism (Shandong Provincial Bureau of Cultural Heritage) and the People's Government of Binzhou City, Shandong Province. It demonstrates the historical process of the Sinicization of Buddhism in detail, and profoundly interprets the complex process of changes and mutual learning between Chinese and foreign civilizations and the tremendous inclusiveness of Chinese culture. This exhibition displays 119 exquisite artifacts, which are divided into three sections, namely, “Land of flourishing Buddhism,” “Glorious gilded bronze statues,” and “Visions of Buddha statues.” It comprehensively demonstrates the historical development of the Buddhist sculpture from Bo'xing, the carving and casting techniques and the ideological pursuit contained within these works.