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The Six Senses of Buddhism

Art museums generally give primacy to the sense of sight. Religious and ritual objects, on the other hand, stimulate an array of multi-sensory experiences. Focusing on works from UMMA’s collection associated with different types of Japanese Buddhism, we engage all of the six senses in this exhibition.

Six senses are integral to Buddhist devotion: sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste, and mind (or the activity of thinking, including what is perceived via the other senses). The “Six Senses” gallery experience extends beyond vision to include: the sound of chanting and ritual implements; the fragrance of incense; the feel of bronze, ceramic, and silk; and the creation of mental images. Our goal for visitors is to gain a deeper understanding of the nature and histories of objects used in Buddhist practice.