Something stirred in the soul of a Hong Kong art and gem collector when he saw an elderly woman clasp her hands in worship before the statue of the seated Buddha at the Gangaramaya Temple in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Transfixed at the sight of the woman’s deep reverence for this image of the Buddha and immensely moved by her awe for the sacred icon, the collector – who had spent his life collecting rare and beautiful Buddha statues – came to a realisation. The rightful place for these objects was not behind closed doors, but in the public eye. Divinely inspired art depicting the Buddha in his sublime state of enlightenment belonged in the temple, not the home. It should be worshipped and adored by the many, not kept purely for the selfish aesthetic enjoyment of the few.