God in sculpture
religion and spirituality in Eastern Asia

March 21, 2009 – June 14, 2009 Deze tentoonstelling is afgelopen
With a very extraordinary collection of sixty age-old bronze and stone sculptures Kunsthal Rotterdam shows how God is portrayed in Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism. At the exhibition top pieces from India, Nepal, Cambodiya, China, Korea and Thailand illustrate in what way Buddha and Mahariva and their followers have been portrayed through the ages. The collection, belonging to Viktor and Marianne Langen, is in a state that can be called outstanding and the vast majority of pieces can be dated back as far as the eighth and ninth century. The oldest piece that is presented at the exhibition is a Pakistani torso of a bodhisattva from the second century A.D.

Divine Art

Together with worshipping several Gods, the belief in reincarnation and salvation belongs to the core of Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism. These three ancient world religions which have spread from the Indian subcontinent over the whole of East Asia and great parts of the world know a great variety of different Gods. At the exhibition it becomes clear which characteristic gestures, postures and attributes typify each distinct God. Besides all this, extensive attention is paid to the development and customs of these three religions.

Top pieces

The collection of religious sculptures that are presented in a serene setting is highly diverse and contains divine sculptures in stone and bronze which originate from a variety of Asian countries, cultures and time periods. A number of the oldest and rarest pieces at the exhibition is that of the bodhisattva's, which are enlightened creatures that are obliged to live a good and unselfish life in order to be redeemed from life on earth. An extraordinary example is that of a bodhisattva from the Chinese Sui Dynasty (581-618), which is wearing an excessive, partly painted crown. The bodhisattvas show the believers the way to salvation, just like the Hindu Shiva, Parvati or Ganesha, and set an example as to how to lead good lives.

3. God in Beeld - Denkende boddhisatva (1) - LR.jpg


At Asmuth Druck + Crossmedia a bilingual (German and English) publication has been published with the title: Buddhisten, Jainas, Hindus, Auf der Suche nach dem Gottesbild, ISBN 978-3-940661-00-5. During the exhibition this publication will be for sale in our museum shop.

Thanks to


1. God in Beeld - Boeddha kop - LR.jpg