1000+ Han Mengyun:Splinters of Jade

26 April - 9 June 2019

Han Mengyun’s studies of Sanskrit and Buddhism as well as Buddhist art led her to reading archaeological reports of excavations on Buddhist sites in abundance, especially those of the British archaeologist Aurel Stein. What we generally encounter in these reports are pieces of broken pots, strips of floral textiles, headless Buddhas, armless Bodhisattvas, or the bodiless beings. Their beauty, however defaced by the atrocity of time, retains the aura even in their own fragmentation. The remnants of time attest to the Buddhist idea of impermanence:


Just like a clay vessel 

Made by a potter

Each life of a mortal 

Ends in breaking. 


(Impermanence. Book I, Udānavarga).


The title comes from Shiren Yuxie  诗人玉屑(Jade Splinters of the Poets [on the valuable gleanings about poetry] by Wei Qingzhi 魏庆之(1240-1244) , serving as an emphasis of Han’s appreciation of fragmented ideas, artifacts, identities and histories. 


Included in the exhibition are sūtras, treatises, and poems chosen by both the artist herself and Professor Mattia Salvini of Buddhist Studies at Mahidol University. According to Professor Salvini, the association between image and text is at times a direct impression of the face of a Bodhisattva that recalls certain verses on compassion, whereas in other instances, the match with an image highlights the paradox and natural harmony of the two truths, as expressed in the text: the ultimate Three Jewels are not within the range of perception or mind – thus, here we are, placing this wisdom, in words, next to visual manifestations of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.


The text and images placed within a meticulously designed space suggesting various routes of viewing will present the depth and vastness of the Buddhist view both artistically, philosophically and experientially.

Installation Views