x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Louvre Abu Dhabi makes its first loan - an ancient Buddha

The Louvre Abu Dhabi has loaned out the first piece of its collection, an ancient marble Buddha head from China.

The head is believed to be part of a large sculpture.
The head is believed to be part of a large sculpture.

Abu Dhabi // The Louvre Abu Dhabi has loaned out the first piece of its collection, an ancient marble Buddha head from China. "Head of Buddha was created during a period of disintegration in the Chinese Empire, when ephemeral dynasties rapidly succeeded each other in the north of China," said a representative from the Tourism Develop and Investment Company (TDIC). The head is believed to be a fragment of a larger sculpture.

"It is one of the few major art works that remain as part of European and American public collection," the representative added. It will be displayed at the Centre Pompidou-Metz in France until October 25. It forms part of an exhibition of "masterpieces" throughout art history. "The marble quality and large scale nature of the sculpture, with its key Buddha features, including the knotted hairstyle and elongated earlobes, give us an indication of the grandeur and spirituality such works must have achieved, as well as a sense of the importance imparted to Buddhist ideology," the TDIC representative said.

The piece was included as part of the preview of the Louvre Abu Dhabi in 2009, where it was on display along with pieces loaned from institutions in France. The museum is expected to be completed by 2013, and the curators are already acquiring works for the collection, which will focus on art across different cultures. TDIC was not immediately able to say yesterday how many pieces are in the collection.

The gallery will also incorporate pieces loaned from the Louvre in France, as well as the Musée d'Orsay and Centre Pompidou, Musée Guimet and Musée du Quai Branly. The building will be one component of the proposed Saadiyat Island Cultural District, which will also include the Zayed National Museum and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. @Email:amcmeans@thenational.ae