Exhibitions & Events, Galleries & Museums

British Library – Buddhism

Exhibition Dates: 25 October 2019 – 25 February 2020

Explore the origins, philosophy and contemporary relevance of Buddhism, from its beginnings in India in the 6th century BC to having 1 billion followers worldwide.

Featuring rare treasures from the British Library’s collections, including colourful scrolls, unique cosmologies, lavishly painted manuscripts and temple banners, and bejewelled books spanning 2000 years and 20 countries, this exhibition highlights the outstanding aesthetic beauty of Buddhist manuscripts and printed works in the largest display of its kind ever held at the Library.

Through sacred scriptures written on tree bark, palm leaves, ivory and gold to exquisite silk scrolls of major Sutras, follow the life of Buddha and his many incarnations, and discover how Buddhism was pivotal in developing writing and printing techniques to transmit stories and ideas across Asia.

Contemporary art, calming ambient film and audio, and ritual objects provide a window onto everyday life in Buddhist communities, allowing you to understand current customs and beliefs, gain insight into meditative practices and the Buddhist concepts of compassion and loving-kindness, and even experience the feeling of stepping into a monastic library.
Before you leave, reflect on how knowledge and values have been shared over the centuries despite the diversity of Buddhist cultures around the world, examine the enduring iconography of Buddha and consider what it means to be Buddhist today.


25 October 2019 – 25 February 2020

Monday and Wednesday – Friday 09.30-18.00
Tuesday 09.30-20.00
Saturday 09.30-17.00
Sunday 11.00-17.00
Seasonal holidays 11.00-17.00.

Last exhibition entry 90 minutes before closing.

Closed 24 – 26 December and 1 January.

Opening times may vary. Please check website for details.


Adult: £14

Access Information

Please check website for details.

Phone Number

01937 546546

Posted on August 06 2019

standard-tickets-white.svg Buy tickets