Enlightened Ways: The Many Streams of Buddhist Art in Thailand

a curatorial tour led by Heidi Tan

This exhibition at Singapore’s Asian Civilisations Museum (30 Nov 2012 – 17 Aoril 2013) explored the many forms of Buddhist art in Thailand through more than 100 important works, the majority drawn from 11 Thai national museums. Sculptures, paintings, ceramics, textiles, and furniture showed the wide range and diverse influences of this artistic tradition.

Buddhist art in Thailand draws on both Hindu and Buddhist origins and incorporates animistic traditions as well. From the earliest beginnings, the worship of Hindu deities, nature spirits, and ancestors is evident. The practice of merit-making is also an essential part of Thai Buddhism and one of the reasons why images of the Buddha continue to be so prevalent in daily life. Creating images and decorative arts are ways to make merit in this life and the next.

About the curator:

Heidi Tan is Principal Curator in charge of the Southeast Asian collections at the Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM). She assisted with the establishment of the ACM in 1997 and the Peranakan Museum in 2008. She trained in Fine Art (Sculpture) and has a Masters degree in Art and Archaeology from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, where she specialised in the history of Southeast Asian ceramics.

She currently works with a wide range of materials including sculpture, metalwork and textiles and has particular interest in the Buddhist arts of Southeast Asia. Major exhibitions and publications include: Viet Nam. From Myth to Modernity (2008); Sumatra: Isle of Gold (2009) and Enlightened Ways: The Many Streams of Buddhist Art in Thailand (2012). Heidi is a member of the Southeast Asian Ceramic Society and gave the 2005 William Willets Lecture: New Insights on Rare Vietnamese Ceramics in the Asian Civilisations Museum Collection.

7pm, 12 April 2013

Special Exhibitions Gallery, ACM Empress Place