18. Oktober 2014 bis 17. Mai 2015

Myanmar – the mysterious “Golden Land”: Although Myanmar, formerly Burma, is one of the larger countries in Southeast Asia with an area of 678,500 km² and a population of around 55 million, its culture, art and history are largely unknown. The exhibition provides comprehensive insights into the culture of a country that, after long years of isolation, is embarking on the road to modernity.

Anyone who travels through Myanmar immediately recognizes: life there is determined by Buddhism. Centuries-old temples and golden pagodas dominate the landscapes, in every house a shrine is enthroned in the highest place for the daily worship of Buddha and children become monks at a young age.

On the basis of 200 selected originals from top-class international collections, films and music, the exhibition conveys an impression of Myanmar society and traces the manifold expressions of lived religion.

The focus is on Myanmar Buddhism and the arts that are closely related to it. On display are a throne, impressive Buddha figures from twelve centuries, frescoes, magnificent manuscripts on paper, palm leaf and ivory, filigree wood carvings, lacquer vessels and other objects from the environment of Buddhist monasteries.

The performing arts also contribute to the transmission of Buddhist teachings. In addition to excerpts from performances, costumes, puppets and traditional musical instruments are on display. The highlight is a complete Hsaing orchestra, consisting of a variety of different drums, gongs and other melodic instruments, which is used on public occasions to accompany dances and religious ceremonies.

Astrology and magic still play an important role in Myanmar today. The worship of the Nat spirits is presented in a complete shrine with figurines and votive offerings. Traditional moral concepts and the belief in the effect of colors and patterns, which can have a lasting impact on one’s own destiny, shape the arts of body design: the exhibition shows fine silk dresses, hand-woven cotton fabrics, jewelry, traditional cosmetics as well as tattooing utensils. Works by contemporary artists finally embark on the search for a Myanmar modernity.

For kids
Embedded in the exhibition is a special children’s level: Together with the little monk Dhammananda, young visitors discover his home. He tells about monasteries, mythical animals and their planets, and shows how to dress and what the writing looks like. A free children’s booklet accompanies visitors through the exhibition, and stations invite them to try things out and marvel.

Video of the exhibition:

Link: “Making of” video

Catalog with contributions by internationally renowned Myanmar experts:
Noack, Georg / de Castro, Inés (eds.), 256 p., ca. 500 col. Ill., hardcover, EUR 24.95
Link: Order

Museum der Kulturen Basel / Museum Rietberg Zürich / Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Museum für Asiatische Kunst / Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Orientabteilung / Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford / Völkerkundemuseum der J. G. E. von Portheim-Stiftung Heidelberg / Pansodan Gallery Yangon / Yangon Film School / Private loans

Mobility partner: DB Bahn
With the kind support of: State of Baden-Württemberg, Ströer – Deutsche Städte Medien

Media partner: National Geographic

Ever since humans discovered and settled the island worlds in the Pacific thousands of years ago, there have been many connections between the widely scattered land areas in the largest sea on earth.


In cooperation with:
Eberhard Karls University Tübingen, China Center Tübingen, HFT Stuttgart

With kind support:

Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Karl Schlecht Stiftung, Tübinger Vereinigung für Volkskunde e.V., Universitätsbund Tübingen e. V., Stiftung Landesbank Baden-Württemberg, Netzwerk transformierender Lehre in Baden-Württemberg, Verein Freunde Hochschule für Technik Stuttgart