Gallery of the Day: Traditions in Sculpture

August 10, 2011


After a busy few mornings in the ever popular animal galleries at the National Museum of Scotland, we took a breather in Traditions in Sculpture, one of the top floor balcony galleries overlooking the Grand Gallery:

“Sculpture uses the three dimensions of depth, height and width, and the characteristics of its materials such as stone, metal or wood to achieve the physicality and presence of the finished work. From earliest times sculptors have created works intended to inspire devotion, to tell stories, to commemorate individuals, or to capture beauty in a lasting form. These reflect the different traditions of their cultures.” (gallery intro panel)

It’s one of the smallest galleries, if not the smallest, but still manage to cover ‘Hindu and Buddhist Traditions’, with several beautiful large Buddha sculptures as well as a series of smaller brass, bronze and stone figurines; ‘Portraying the Individual’, with busts from some notable historical Scottish figures as well as some full-size statues; and Classical and Christian Traditions’, which would of course not be complete without a toga clad statue.

Being at the top of the building, it’s also a nice and bright space, just right for taking time out during your visit from some of the other, more busy galleries. There are no seats in the gallery itself, but there are benches either end of the balcony on the opposite side, just a few steps away – perfect for having another look across at the statues while you’re having a wee rest.


  • The huge bronze cast Amida Buddha from 18th/ 19th century Japan

Things to do

  • All those mediating Buddhas might put you in the mood to reflect on your museum visit, or you could take some time to study the amazing glass ceiling of the museum close up.


* Please note that these are my own personal highlights and not necessarily recommended as such by the museum.


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