On October 23, 2015, Rubin Museum debuted their Sacred Spaces exhibition. The exhibit explores the concept of the holy. What makes a particular space holy? How do we use that space to connect with the divine? Who gets to decide that a place is holy? All these questions and more are explored in the Sacred Spaces exhibit, which is coming to a close on October 17, 2016.
To further examine the subject, Rubin Museum has provided a Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room where visitors can reflect on the idea of sanctity. While there are many different types of Tibetan Buddhist shrines (ranging from modest home altars to opulent temples) this one is modeled after a wealthy household shrine. The shrine features numerous statues alongside lavish furniture, cloth, and sacred objects. The Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room serves as a traditional space reserved for offerings, prayers, devotion, and meditation.
But the room is more than what meets the eye; it offers an escape from the stressors of everyday life. A panoramic photo taken by Jaroslav Poncar transports viewers to the dreamy landscape of the Himalayan Mountains, where temples flourish and spirits freely soar. Ancient belief is that the Himalayan Mountains themselves are sacred. Locals believe that the ground, water, rocks, mountains, and trees require worship in order to ward off danger and invite blessings. Those who are interested can view a free interactive tour of the room here.
Aside from the Shrine Room, the exhibit also features a video created by Deidi von Schaewen. The short twelve-minute film documents a Jain communal ritual in which a colossal stone sculpture is blessed every every twelve years. The documentary takes viewers on a tour of Shravanabelgola, Karnataka, India, where devotees pour holy substances on the sculpture and join one another in prayer for four straight days. The film offers an inside look at some of the most sacred rituals still being practiced today.
The Rubin Museum is located at:
150 West 17th Street
New York, NY 10011.
Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for students and senior citizens. Children 12 and under are free.