- Dragons and Tigers: Protectors of the Buddhist Dharma
- July 7, 2015 - August 9, 2015
The blue dragon in the east and the white tiger in the west are two of the animals believed in East Asia to protect the four directions. These two creatures contrast with one another in many ways: one is imaginary and the other real (although both seem far removed from the daily lives of most people); the dragon is associated with the heavens and with water, while the tiger symbolizes the earth and soil.
When Buddhism moved eastward from India through China and into Japan, it picked up the Chinese belief in the protective abilities of the dragon and tiger. As a result, we find paintings of these two powerful animals in many Japanese Buddhist temples. Artists adapted their depictions of these creatures according to the tastes of each age and to their own individual styles. The works on view in this exhibition are part of the rich legacy of fascinating dragon and tiger images that have survived the centuries.