Golden buddha

Kanakamuni Buddha. 18th century. Lhasa or Shigatse, Central, Tibet. Gilt copper alloy, partly cast and partly repoussé; traces of pigment, inserted blue turquoise 
urna; base sealed with copper plate incised with a double vajra; unopened with contents inside. Photo courtesy of The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler 
Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. From the Alice S. Kandell Collection. 


In Doorway to an Enlightened World, visitors to the Carlos Museum will encounter compelling works of Tibetan Buddhist art, not displayed as individual, unconnected pieces but presented in their proper sacred context, regarded as a “doorway” into a higher world.

Among the most impressive objects in the collection are large, gilt-bronze Buddhas and bodhisattvas dating from the 15th through the 18th centuries; a Mongolian silver Buddha with seashell and coral adornments; a gilded bronze of the goddess Tara with a gem-encrusted crown; and jewelry, attributes, and thangkas framed within their original silk brocade complete with the original finials. 

The works of art in the Kandell Shrine, created in artistic centers on the Tibetan Plateau as well as in China and Mongolia, are arranged in a religiously appropriate manner; ritual implements are placed on lower tables while images of the Buddha appear in the highest, most prominent positions. Shrine rooms are considered sacred spaces by practicing Buddhists. Monks and lamas have used the Kandell Shrine for contemplation and meditation; the Dalai Lama has blessed many of the objects within it. 


The exhibition in Atlanta has been made possible through generous support from the Thalia N. Carlos and Chris M. Carlos Foundation, Inc.; the Thalia and Michael C. Carlos Foundation, Inc.; the E. Rhodes & Leona B. Carpenter Foundation; the Highland Vineyard Foundation; and Christine Tryba-Cofrin and David H. Cofrin. The exhibition has been organized by The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution.