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The Birth of Buddhism

10 January 2013 – 7 April 2013

Palace Green Library

Presenting the story of the birth and life of Siddhartha Gautama, later recognised as the Buddha, and the early spread of Buddhism in South Asia. 

This exhibition drew from the collections of the Oriental Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the British Museum, complemented by contemporary images by National Geographic photographer, Ira Block. 

A team of leading academics from Durham University’s Department of Archaeology has played a key role in the study and preservation of one of the world’s great religious sites – the birthplace of the Buddha at Lumbini in Nepal. 

Drawing on treasures from the Victoria and Albert Museum, the British Museum and Durham’s own Oriental Museum, the exhibition showcased the work of the Durham team and its international partners and explored the life of Gautama Buddha, the establishment of Buddhism and its early spread throughout South Asia. 

The exhibition also highlighted how photography has captured the different faces of Buddhism, drawing both on the historic Marshall Collection of photographs held by the Oriental Museum and selected images taken by National Geographic photographer, Ira Block. 

A close-up of the gold eyes of a statue of Buddha.