In the autumn of 2016, the MAS will unveil the many secrets of the Sarvavid Vairocana, an 18th-century Chinese series of paintings from the MAS collection. The The All-Knowing Buddha exhibition focuses on these images.
The series is a manual on meditation, made up of 54 colour miniatures in which Vairocana, the primary figure among the five meditating Buddhas, is the focus. The fact that a meditative process is seldom or never depicted and the completeness of the series makes these images so exceptional.
In 1923, Flemish missionary Raphael Verbois acquired the series of paintings, which was then purchased in its entirety by the Ethnographic Museum in Antwerp in 1977. The MAS now curates this collection. Already in 2015, the exhibition was shown in the Rubin Museum in New York. Four conservators of the Rubin Museum in New York examined the paintings for one year, establishing that the works dated from the fourteenth century, making them 400 years older than initially thought. The paintings were probably created to instruct a Chinese prince.