Smithsonian Freer Gallery Sackler Gallery National Museum of Asian Art Gallery Guide Art of Buddhism

The history of Buddhism in China is a complex story of importation, assimilation, and transformation of a foreign religion. Buddhism reached China from India by the first century but did not flower until the Six Dynasties period (220—589), when political and economic troubles encouraged its full acceptance. Under these conditions, the religion's emphasis on personal salvation and renunciation of worldly ties, coupled with monk-sponsored welfare projects, attracted devotees from many social strata. Buddhism sometimes prospered under imperial patronage; however, its foreign origin led other rulers to sponsor major persecutions. The faith survived these periodic challenges and continues to flourish today.
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Head od Buddha
The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and the Freer Gallery of Art
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