New Tibetan And Nepalese Art Acquisitions To Go On Exhibit At Metropolitan Museum

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The Goddess Durga Slaying Mahisha, Nepal, Fourteenth Century, copper alloy, 10¼ by 123/16 by 53/8 inches. Gift of Zimmerman Family Collection, 2012.

NEW YORK CITY — Thirteen recently acquired masterworks of Tibetan and Nepalese art will go on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art beginning September 17. Dating from the Eleventh to the Seventeenth Century, “Masterpieces of Tibetan and Nepalese Art: Recent Acquisitions,” on view until February 2, will include five sculptures that are among the rarest and most important such objects to enter a Western collection, along with examples of the finest Tibetan and Nepalese paintings known. All come from the pioneering collection of Muriel and Jack Zimmerman.

Among the sculptures that will be on view are the sublime brass Sakyamuni Buddha, created in the late Twelfth Century and the finest example of its kind; the imposing bronze portrait of Padmasambhava, the Indian saint who brought Buddhism to Tibet, the largest and finest such sculptural effigy outside Tibet; a Nepalese gilt copper repoussé Vishnu on Garuda dated 1004, a unique legacy of the Licchavi dynasty; and a monumental Sixteenth Century mask of Bhairava that is unrivaled in its scale and quality.

The paintings in the group will include the unsurpassed “Nepalese Surya and Achala,” as well as the “Tibetan Mahakala, Protector of the Tent,” imposing in scale, exquisite in execution and datable to around 1500, making it an exceptional work of the period.

The Zimmermans began acquiring Tibetan and Nepalese art in 1964, and became the foremost collectors of their generation. Buying with “a connoisseur’s eye” in the formative period of Himalayan art appreciation, they formed a collection of unrivaled depth and quality. All of the works have been exhibited and published regularly since 1974 (including the 1977 exhibition “Gods and Demons of the Himalayas” that was conducted at the Grand Palais in Paris). In 1991, a catalog of the collection’s highlights was published by the American Federation of Arts to accompany an exhibition that toured the United States and Europe.

Loans of the works continued over the next 20 years that followed, including many that were on view in the “Wisdom and Compassion” exhibition tour that began in 1999, initially organized by Tibet House in New York. 

The museum is at 1000 Fifth Avenue. For general information, www.metmuseum.org or 212-535-7710.

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