2015 / “Insight: The Path of Bodhidharma” exhibition at USC Pacific Asia Museum, Sep 19, 2014 – Feb. 15, 2015



USC Pacific Asia Museum

Insight: The Path of Bodhidharma

The Focus Gallery

September 19, 2014 through February 15, 2015


USC Pacific Asia Museum Bodhidharma

HOTEI Hokuga (fl. early 19th century), Courtesan and Daruma, Japan, c. 1805, Ink, color and silk on paper, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Calvin Frazier. Collection of USC Pacific Asia Museum

Credited with introducing Chan (Zen in Japanese) Buddhism in China in the 6th century, the Indian monk Bodhidharma (known as Daruma in Japan) has become a well-known subject in Buddhist art, frequently depicted in ways that emphasize his non-East Asian origin and iconoclastic persona.

As Chan Buddhism gained popularity, various legends associated with the Chan patriarch evolved and artists began to depict those legends alongside his conventional portraits. He is renowned for deeds such as meditating for nine years by staring at a blank wall in a cave, which led him to enlightenment, and crossing the Yangtze while standing on a single reed.

Traditional depictions of Bodhidharma were executed in ink monochrome with free expressive brush strokes, alluding to his teaching on the spontaneous nature of reaching enlightenment through meditation. During the Edo period in Japan (1603-1868), the depiction of this pious monk’s stern expression went through a radical change as he was often paired with a courtesan of the pleasure quarters—a parody to expose the hypocrisy of society.

Today, Bodhidharma is still widely represented both in fine art and as a pop-culture icon of good luck. Mostly drawn from USC Pacific Asia Museum’s permanent collection, Insight: The Path of Bodhidharma explores the portrayal of Bodhidharma from 17th century until present day. Through an array of objects from paintings and sculptures to decorative objects and toys, the exhibition illustrates the visual and conceptual shift in depictions of this religious figure.

Admission: $10 Adults, $7 students/Seniors

Free admission to the galleries for children age 12 and under, USC faculty, staff, students and alumni with valid ID.

Free admission every 4th Friday of the month.

Hours: Wednesdays – Sundays: 10 am – 6 pm: Closed Mondays and Tuesdays

Parking: Free parking is available in the museum parking lot on the corner of  Los Robles and Union.

Location: 46 North Los Robles Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101-2009

Contact: (626) 449-2742   info@pacificasiamueum.org

Follow Us: pacificasiamuseum.usc.edu