Contemplation of Art and a History of Mindfulness

Table of Content

Throughout my visit to Florida International University’s Frost Museum of art, I found myself immersed and captivated by foreign, yet familiar artwork. As I walked through the spacious, well-lit entrance, I was immediately drawn to a promotion pamphlet. When I saw an elegant, bronze-cast Buddha looking back at me with serenity, I knew that the “Asian Crossroads” exhibit would be my primary source of inspiration. As I walked in silence, admiring pottery from a different era and their well-preserved intricacy, I stopped when I realized I reached my destination. The reason I felt myself immersed in a foreign, yet familiar environment is due to the inspiration that conjured all these different yet dogmatically similar renditions of Siddhartha Gautama. However, I immediately found myself drawn to what I believed was the most beautiful rendition of Buddha. Head of Avalokiteshvara was created by an unknown artist in Cambodia’s Angkor period from the twelfth to the thirteenth century. Sculptures of this type arose during the Buddhist fervor of the Khmer royal family. Jayavarman VII and his heir Indravarman II felt such devotion to the Dharma (law) of Buddhism, that an era of temple construction and artistic flourishment prospered during their reigns respectively. The beauty of this sculpture lies in the symbolism of its artistic style and how this symbolism inspired me the second I saw it. Avalokiteshvara is a Bodhisattva (Buddha-to-be) that goes by many names in different Asian nations, but ultimately has the same role. Whether he is Avalokiteshvara, Guanyin, or Chenrezig this bodhisattva represents ultimate compassion. His role is to never reach enlightenment, until all his fellow man reaches Nirvana (realm of enlightenment). Avalokiteshvara’s physical appearance was inspired by the way in which Cambodian people looked at the time. His Ushnisha (top-bun), holds the original spirit of the Buddha, which symbolizes his role as mediator between humanity and true enlightenment. His serene face, almost smiling, espoused the same form of peace as I admired this sculpture. This work of art is profoundly beautiful to me, because it humanized a figure I read so extensively about and found so much comfort from.

Unsurprisingly, the most interesting non-American work I found also pertained to the Asian Crossroads exhibit that captured me in the first place. The Sea Crossing Guanyin was created in the seventeenth or eighteenth century. Also, from an unknown artist, this piece arose during Buddhist inspiration of the Qing Dynasty in China. Although my admiration remained, I mostly felt intrigue and appreciation to this artwork. I learned that Guanyin can take many forms, but in China, Avalokiteshvara can also take the form of a woman. A patroness of fertility and protector of Fisherman, Guanyin is seen perched upon a giant fish her serene face unchanged as the waters flow around her. Her Ushnisha also holds the distinctive small buddha atop her crown to symbolize her wisdom and her status as a guide to mankind. I found this piece fascinating because through a female figure, Guanyin also inspired women of the era to sever themselves from their earthly tether, and to devote themselves to betterment of the self.

This essay could be plagiarized. Get your custom essay
“Dirty Pretty Things” Acts of Desperation: The State of Being Desperate
128 writers

ready to help you now

Get original paper

Without paying upfront

During my exploration of the museum, I found myself lost. What in this museum could possibly disturb me? My thoughts were cut short when I entered the contemporary art exhibit. I have always been surrounded by artworks of Cuban artists. I find them to be an excellent insight into my heritage and how Cuban artists conveyed the inspiration they felt from their homeland. The Mediator by Humberto Calzada is a very geometric and brightly colored portrait. The portrait is designed to convey openness, emptiness, and a dream-like fantasy work flooded by water. Calzada believes water to be a symbol of rebirth but destruction. I felt extreme isolation and loneliness staring at it. Although desolate, this piece made me feel like the waters held uncertainty below its still depths. Although colorful, this dreamworld contained a cynic vision of dystopian design that I could not overcome.

Overall, the special exhibit that drew the most inspiration for me was the Asian Crossroads: Influence and Interaction Along the Maritime Silk Road. The purpose of this exhibit is to give a cultural and historical insight in the intricacy that went into Asian pottery and sculptures and their inspirations. Porcelain cups from as early as the second century have stood the test of time and retained wonderful designs of animals and floral inscriptions.

The piece was is the most significant of the Asian Crossroads exhibit is Seated Buddha in Abayamudra by Tori Busshi. A prominent figure of the Edo period that lasted in Japan from 1615 to 1868, this piece puts emphasis on how Japanese Shintoism collided with the values of Buddhism. Buddha is seen with his right hand up with his index pointed towards the heavens, his left hand towards the spectator. His stance almost appears like his is beckoning the viewer to listen to what he has to say. His humble gown extends downward, so that in any post this statue is place, the bronze casted gown will always flow down it.

The final piece that I would take home is Head of the Buddha that was created in the Thai Sukhothai kingdom that lasted from 1238 to 1438. Thailand began to portray Buddha with a rounded face and snail-like curls to symbolize his hair. His Ushnisha is also more pointed, as if to say it is pointed towards the heavens. I would take this home because I closely have participated in the Thai Theravada branch of Buddhism here in Florida. This Buddha’s transcendent facial expression reminds me dearly, of the wonderful congregation of monks that I have had the luck of speaking to.


  1. Amaro, Ajahn. “Theravada Buddhism The Thai Forest Tradition.” The Buddhist Society: Scriptures & Texts, The Buddhist Society,
  2. “Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara.” Khan Academy, Khan Academy,
  3. Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Avalokiteshvara.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 16 Feb. 2018,
  4. Lucic, Karen. Embodying Compassion in Buddhist Art: Image, Pilgrimage, Practice. THE FRANCES LEHMAN LOEB ART CENTER, 2015,
  5. Manandhar, Gaurav. “Ushnisha – Crown of Lord Buddha.” Explanation about the Abhaya Mudra, Hand Positions of Buddha Statues, 2015,

Cite this page

Contemplation of Art and a History of Mindfulness. (2021, Oct 25). Retrieved from

Remember! This essay was written by a student

You can get a custom paper by one of our expert writers

Order custom paper Without paying upfront