Collection Online

Eternity-Buddha in Nirvana, the Dying Gaul, Farnese Hercules, Night, Day, Sartyr and Bacchante, Funerary Genius, Achilles, Persian Soldier Fighting, Dancing Faun, Crouching Aphrodite, Narcissus Lying, Othryades the Spartan Dying, the Fall of Icarus, A River, Milo of Croton

mineral-based composite material, mineral pigments, metal
(550.0 × 1701.2 × 400.0 cm)
Place/s of Execution
Shanghai, China
ed. 1/3
Accession Number
Contemporary Art
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Loti & Victor Smorgon Fund, 2018
Gallery location
Not on display
Chinese artist Xu Zhen explores his Buddhist heritage and various traditional depictions of the Buddha in this monumental work Eternity‐Buddha in Nirvana ..., 2016–17. Bringing cultural traditions together is Xu’s way of addressing barriers. ‘I have always been curious about the differences between cultures and the alienation between them. And yet, misconceptions can be the beginning of awareness and understanding.’

Xu uses the colossal form of a reclining Buddha dating from the High Tang dynasty (705–781 CE). More than 14 metres long, the original was built into a man-made grotto, the Nirvana Cave near the Chinese city of Dunhuang, situated at an important crossroads on the Silk Road. Just as this route provided an exchange of Eastern and Western ideas and objects, in this work of art the artist has joined the reclining Buddha gure with replicas of many Greco-Roman, Renaissance and Neoclassical sculptures.

The artist created the work through a combination of 3D scanning and photography of the original reclining Buddha, hand-carving and casting techniques.

Generously supported by the Loti & Victor Smorgon Fund.