Gods & Guardians in Asian Arts: Oct. 29 – Dec. 18

Scroll Painting of the Kasuga Deer Mandala, circa 19th c., Painting on paper and silk, Gift of Professor Bruce A. Coats in Memory of Princeton University Professor Yoshiaki Shimizu, Scripps College, Claremont, California

Gods and Guardians in Asian Arts illuminates the celestial and the divine, the sacred and the spiritual, in a rich array of works from Scripps College’s permanent collection. The exhibition features 40 sculptures, paintings, and hallowed objects—from Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, and Tibet—many on display for the first time. Visit Hindu, Buddhist, Daoist, and Shinto gods and guardians in the Williamson Gallery from October 29 through December 18, 2022. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, October 29 from 7-9 PM featuring light refreshments. The Gallery is open from Wednesday through Sunday from 1-5 PM during exhibitions. Admission is free. 

Hindu gods are depicted in bronze and stone sculptures, from the protective images of Vishnu and Ganesha to the destructive forces of Shiva and Kali. Buddhist deities include portrayals of the Historical Buddha Shakyamuni at the moment of enlightenment, the Bodhisattva of Compassion in various manifestations, as well as wrathful figures who protect Buddhist teachings. Daoist immortals are depicted relaxing under a tree or bringing peaches of immortality from the Queen Mother of the West’s garden. Shinto gods are shown in a painted mandala, a woodblock print, and small wooden statue created for a home shrine. Scripps College is fortunate to have a breadth of religious images contributed by many donors over the past fifty years. 

The exhibition is curated by Dr. Bruce A. Coats, Scripps Professor of Art History and the Humanities, who has a remarkable legacy of teaching from and exhibiting the College’s collections. Professor Coats taught at Scripps College for over three decades and holds a Ph.D. in Asian Art History from Harvard University, among other distinctions. With thanks to Dr. Matthew King, Director of Asian Studies and Associate Professor of Buddhist Studies, UC Riverside for providing insight and expertise on thangkas.