Back on Friday I received an invitation for a “Shrines and Reliquaries” show. It will be a benefit for the Arts Center in Corvallis during their holiday sales. In years past they have put on “Winter Light” which opened up the main gallery to sales of locally produced items (some from Washington but mainly Oregon) from about 125 artists. Unfortunately, the sales last year were down and they have decided to try a different approach. I’m game! Bring on the Reliquary…. wait, what is a reliquary?
Reliquaries are a container that holds and protects a relic. Historically they have held physical remains from a religious person like bone, clothing or personal object. They range in size from pendants/rings to coffin sized containers. The earliest were essentially boxes, simple or based on architecture ie a church. Then they changed to crosses, then body part representation (hands or feet depending on what bone you have), and then to relics housed in rock crystal or glass capsules (easy to mount on poles and parade around town). In Buddhism & Hinduism, reliquaries are often housed in stupas, essentially large dome shaped architecture. People like to visit these ancient sites and relics. Whether Catholic, Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, or what ever, religious items draw the public in. Its a pilgrimage after all!
I made a pilgrimage in 2000 to India & Nepal to visit the ancient Buddhist sites. The architecture of stupas created a mark on my ceramic works for a couple of years after that. Here are a couple of photos from that journey.
Kapilavastu, Uttar Pradesh India. We visited the stupa fairly early in the morning during the month of December.
A little later on in the day.
Detail of the stone carving on side.
Lumbini, Nepal is where you can see the Parinirvana Stupa and Temple. It was originally built back in the 5th century. Lumbini is best known for Buddhas birth location.
Inside the temple is where the reclining Buddha resides.
Interested in a Buddhist pilgrimage? Please check out Shantum Seth and www.buddhapath.com.
Do I have ideas yet for my reliquary? Not yet, but something will happen. Stay posted!