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The McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture is preparing to host an exhibit of gilded statues of Buddhist deities and colorful paintings from the eighth century to the present. The exhibit will open on September 11 and run through January 3, 2016.

museum -- deviEmbodying Enlightenment: Buddhist Art of the Himalayas explores the rich history of Buddhist art from Tibet, Nepal, China, and India, and how trade and travel fostered the artistic tradition that continues today.

Some of the works include a copper alloy twelfth-century Tibetan statue of Padmapani Lokeshvara, the lotus bearer; a fifteenth-century Tibetan painting of Mahakala, a protector deity; and a 2008 print of a painting of the fourteenth Dalai Lama by contemporary artist Ang Tsherin Sherpa.

museum -- Padmapani LokeshvaraWalter Arader, curator of Embodying Enlightenment, says “the primary aim of the exhibition is to explore the rich history of Tibetan casting in a chronological fashion, progressively leading the viewer through the major stylistic developments that took place.”

Embodying Enlightenment also serves as a platform for a number of events, including the creation of a sand mandala by Tibetan monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery in Atlanta, which will take place September 22–25. Several exhibition-related lectures are planned, and Suzanne Wright, professor of Asian art, is teaching a semester-long course in conjunction with the objects featured in the exhibit.

museum--Dalai LamaEmbodying Enlightenment is being organized by Walter Arader, PhD candidate in Tibetan and Himalayan studies at the University of Oxford, and by Jeff Watt, founding curator of the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City and the current director of Himalayan Art Resources. The exhibition is being presented by Arader Galleries, Prasad Hutter and the Acupuncture and Awareness Center of Knoxville, the Aletha and Clayton Brodine Museum Fund, and UT Ready for the World. Additional support is being provided by Knox County, the City of Knoxville, and the Arts and Heritage Fund.

The McClung Museum is located at 1327 Circle Park Drive. Museum admission is free, and the museum’s hours are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Sundays. Groups may schedule tours by calling 865-974-2144 or e-mailing Free two-hour museum parking passes are available from the parking information building at the entrance to Circle Park Drive on the weekdays. Free parking is available on Circle Park Drive on a first-come, first-served basis on weekends. Free public transportation to the museum is also available via the Knoxville Trolley Vol Line.


Catherine Shteynberg (865-974-6921,

Christine Dano Johnson (865)974-2144,