Saturday, May 8, 2010
More on My Mask Exhibition
While traveling in Kyrgyzstan, I learned about the “female Buddha” which inspired this mask. While Kyrgyzstan is now a mostly Muslim country, at one time Buddhism was practiced. Kwan Yin is often referred to as the female Buddha. According to one legend, she was a beautiful Indian princess who forsook marriage and the good life to live in a convent in order to become a truly enlightened human being. By turning her back on a life of luxury and seeking spiritual enlightenment, her life story is similar to the historical Buddha, Prince Siddhartha Gautama.
After having achieved enlightenment and the right to enter Buddhist Heaven or Nirvana, legend has it that at Heaven's gates Kwan Yin heard the despairing cry of someone back on earth. Upon hearing that sad cry, she quickly returned to the earthly plane, and vowed to stay there to help all those who suffer achieve the same level of enlightenment that she had, so that they too could enter Nirvana. Kwan Yin's name means "The one who hears the cries of the world."
The fabric that I used for the face and the neck are the same fabric only the face is the back of the fabric and the neck the front. It is one of my favorite fabrics and one that I wished I had bought lots and lots when I had the chance. Such is life!