Phoenix Art Museum opens exhibit on world religion

Phoenix, Phoenix Art MuseumThe Phoenix Art Museum is one of the city’s best art spaces. With more than 18,000 objects in its permanent collection, it brings everything from Picasso to medieval Japanese silk to central Arizona. Their Asian collection is especially good.

Now the museum has started the new year with a major new exhibition. Sacred Word and Image: Five World Religions covers the written word and painted image as expressed in Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. By showing the art and writings of these different religions side by side, visitors can see how people each faith use them to express their beliefs.

The exhibit includes a wide variety of objects, including Christian icons, Muslim prayer mats, religious texts, sculptures, and much more. One interesting item is a 7th century Japanese printed prayer, one of the oldest printed texts in the world. When Japan converted to Buddhism in the 7th century, the emperor had one million small wooden pagodas built. Each included a printed prayer inside.

Sacred Word and Image: Five World Religions runs until March 25, 2012.

Photo courtesy Chanel Wheeler.