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Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG), UK, launches its new Faith in Birmingham Gallery with a VIP event on 4th February.
The centrepiece will be the museum’s longstanding star, the Sultanganj Buddha, discovered by workers building a railway in India in 1862, but as Samacitta found, the museum’s collection features one or two more Buddhist surprises. She’s Chair of Triratna’s Birmingham Buddhist Centre.
“For the past year BMAG’s development of this gallery has included a ‘Faith in Birmingham’ project involving members of the six faiths most strongly represented in the city, including Buddhism.
Yann and Ann Lovelock (Birmingham Mahavihara) and Sinhavacin and I (Triratna) were invited to the museum warehouse by Curator of Asian Artefacts, Adam Jaffer, to look through their artefacts and identify some suitable pieces for display.
There is a fascinating and miscellaneous collection stored there including palm leaf manuscripts, human skull damarus, rupas, and other ritual objects. But the biggest surprise was a Triratna Buddhist Order kesa. I’m pretty sure it will form part of the new display, symbolising the spread of Buddhism today in Birmingham.”
Birmingham is one of the most diverse cities in Europe, with a wide range of Buddhist communities, including followers of Dr Ambedkar from Buddhist traditions beyond Triratna. As many as 70% of its citizens declared a faith in the 2011 census.
Watch a short video of Adam Jaffer introducing the Sultanganj Buddha. 2’ 15”