Curating the Sacred: Exhibiting Buddhism at the World Museum Liverpool

Tythacott, Louise (2017) Curating the Sacred: Exhibiting Buddhism at the World Museum Liverpool. Buddhist Studies Review, 34 (1). pp. 115-133. ISSN 0265-2897

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1558/bsrv.29020

Abstract

This article explores issues involved in representing Buddhism in museums, drawing on the author’s experience of curating the Buddhism display at the World Museum Liverpool. It is concerned with processes of de-contextualization and re-contextualization, focussing on whether sacred images become divested of their religious functions once they enter a museum or if, instead, the gallery can be considered an alternative arena for contemplation. The article begins by reviewing the literature on museums and the sacred. It discusses the lack of concern historically for religion in museums, noting how sacred objects have tended to be ‘secularized’ in exhibitionary contexts. It then examines the Buddhism display at the World Museum Liverpool, part of the permanent World Cultures gallery which opened in 2005, with its reconstructions of a shrine, an altar and a protective chapel — this is a museological environment which deliberately evokes the atmosphere of a temple.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: T100 Chinese studies
W100 Fine Art
W900 Others in Creative Arts and Design
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Arts
Depositing User: Rachel Branson
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2020 12:51
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2020 09:44
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/43618

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