Cultural Arts Review

Posted on October 26, 2012 by


Cultural Art Review by Alec Ackmann.

Creating a buzz in late September was the “Buddha from Space”. This was a statue of the Buddha that had allegedly been carved from a 1,000 year old meteorite that had fallen around the Tibetan border. The story, according to Elmar Bucher of Stuttgart University, goes that the statue had made its way to Germany after a zoologist and ethnologist was sent to Tibet by the Nazi party to look for the origin of the Aryan language and culture. This SS expedition was led by Ernst Schafer in the 1930’s. Schafer had reported that he found the swastika-emblazoned Buddha carved from a 1,000 year old meteorite. He also reported that Schafer had returned with more than 2,000 other items that he found on his expedition. While most have been lost, there is a list of those items that he brought back, and on this long list there is one crucial thing not on it, the statue named “Iron Man”. This is just a part of the evidence that has been released that this statue could possibly be fake. A recent study has showed that while this statue is indeed a meteorite, the details of the carvings point to a more modern making of the statue. The closer study of the statue reveal that the non-Asian features, including the shoes, pants and sleeves of the man’s clothes are all wrong for ancient Tibet. The hands, eyes and ears are also different from traditional Tibetan art. With most experts agreeing that this is from the early 1900’s, does this change the religious significance of the statue? I say yes and no, while it would have been very cool to have a 1,000 year old statue carved out of a 1,000 year old meteorite, these just are not the facts. But what we do have is 80 year old statue carved out of a 1,000 year old meteorite, which in the grand scheme of things is still very cool. While in the past this has not been very important to the Buddhist faith, i believe that it will become increasing important as an important artifact of Buddhist history. Also, for the very least get people to discuss and dive into just what exactly Buddhism is.


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