The Path to Enlightenment: Masterpieces of Buddhist Sculpture from the National Museum of Asian Arts / Musée Guimet, Paris

The Path to Enlightenment: Masterpieces of Buddhist Sculpture from the National Museum of Asian Arts / Musée Guimet, Paris

May 5, 1996 to September 1, 1996


The Path to Enlightenment
brought to Fort Worth the very best examples of Buddhist sculpture from the French national collection’s extensive holdings, representing various cultures, periods, and styles. The exhibition illustrated the evolution and dissemination of Buddhist sculpture from its origins in north central India in the first century throughout the rest of Asia—some ten countries—over the course of nearly two thousand years.

Buddhist sculpture is a particularly important facet of the Musée Guimet’s encyclopedic collections, and this selection included works that were acquired over 100 years ago as well as a number of significant additions to the collections in the years leading up to the exhibition. The Guimet is particularly rich in Cambodian works, and nine outstanding examples were featured in The Path to Enlightenment, including one of the most exquisite pieces of Cambodian stone sculpture, a late-twelfth-century Bayon-style Kneeling Tara. The exhibition showcased works from a wide range of time periods and made of a variety of materials—stone, stucco, wood, and precious metals—demonstrating the richness and variety of Buddhist sculpture and the enduring legacy of Buddhism in Asia. 

The Path to Enlightenment was organized by the National Museum of Asian Arts / Musée Guimet, Paris, and the Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth. It was supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

Caption: Two Naga Kings Emerging from a Pool (detail), Afghanistan, Ghorband, Fondukistan monastery, 7th–8th century, clay and traces of pigments. Musée Guimet, Paris, MG 18957