It would be difficult to find an area of Japanese culture which has not been greatly influenced by Buddhism. The way of thinking, the language, the literature, the material and applied arts – in all of these areas Buddhism proactively shaped the means of expression and the artists’ capabilities, ultimately becoming the system of cultural references more or less knowingly absorbed by all the participants of that civilization. And though from the perspective of the history of Japanese culture Buddhism has never attained the kind of dominant position that Christianity has had in European culture, it does provide a key of meanings that opens the way into the domain illuminated by the Rising Sun.
The exhibition ‘Knowing. Forgetting. Awakening. Japanese Buddhist Art from Polish Collections’, prepared by the Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology as part of its Buddhism project, highlights, for the first time in Poland, the phenomenon of Japanese Buddhist art. This iconographic exhibition showcases a different culture’s cult-objects and works of art, representing a different visual language. A difficult language. To get closer to it, Roland Barthes suggests an experiment consisting in disintegrating our own reality in order to discover a new language, a different syntax. Perhaps this is exactly what will happen during the exhibition ‘Knowing. Forgetting. Awakening’.