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In the Buddhist section of this exhibition, the sculptures and ritual implements cover a range of styles from the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-535 ) to the Imperial grandeur of the Qianlong period (r.1736-1795) in the Qing Dynasty.

In a historic moment during the Northern Wei Dynasty, the ruling house adopted Buddhism as a state religion. Buddhism became a political vehicle which, combined with Confucianism, ensured an ordered and peaceful state reflected in the hierarchy of the various deities and their earthly and heavenly domains. The craftsmen who had so dexterously created symbolic animals in bronze, stone and jade, transferred their skills readily to the representations of these gods with human likenesses.

From the monumental figure of Amitabha Buddha (no. 7 in the catalogue) of the Northern Qi Dynasty (550-577 AD) to the Sino-Tibetan gilt bronze Vajrasattva of the early 15th Century (no. 12 in the catalogue), sculptural Buddhist art demonstrated the ability of the craftsmen not only to achieve amazing representational devotional figures, but also the distinguishing characteristics and status within their hierarchy. Other devotional relics such as the unique gold and silver sarira pagoda of the late Tang period (no. 8) and the white stoneware purified water vessel (no.3)of the Liao Dynasty (907-1125), show the complete mastery of craftsmanship in all media.