As such, gold often appears on paintings and sculptures intended for the temple, monastery or even private devotions — in other words, those places where time meets eternity.
In many Buddhist cultures, aging artworks may be revitalized through the ritual application of gold. The Svayambhu Stupa on display in this exhibition is a model of an actual monument in Nepal that is ritually renovated by the application of gold at regular intervals. Similarly, a large Mongolian Maitreya sculpture reveals how gold was used to ritually enliven this image of the Buddha of the Future. A smaller lapis Buddha from China bears traces of gold leaf. In all of these cases, the application of gold infuses the artwork with the symbolism of gold: luminosity and eternity.