Asian Art Museum scavenger hunt

Coming of Age program
Written and compiled by Dan Harper, v. 1.5
Copyright (c) 2014-2022 Dan Harper
Light revision, April, 2022

Below is a sample handout that we have used on a one-hour field trip to the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. Since exhibits change periodically, we have found that we have to update this handout every time we visit the museum.

There are many other museums in cities across the U.S. with good collections of Asian art that contain religious images and objects. The main point of this field trip is to introduce the participants to a range of non-Western deities, semi-divine beings, and holy persons, from at least 3 or 4 different Asian religious traditions.

Asian Art Museum Scavenger Hunt (handout)

In the Asian Art Museum, you’re going to see religious art that show a wide range of beings. As you walk around, think about where each being should go on the following scale:

(human) 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 (unknowable god)

1. Ordinary human
2. Extraordinary human (prophet, sage)
3. Semi-divine (more than human, not quite a god or goddess)
4. Human who became divine
5. God or goddess with a non-human form
6. God or goddess that acts like a human
7. God or goddess that is far above humans
8. God or goddess so divine that humans cannot know it

Note: You may not be able to find all of the gods, goddesses, and divine beings listed. The Asian Art Museum is always changing what’s on view. Plus there’s at least one trick question on this scavenger hunt.

BUDDHISM

___ A Buddha from Pakistan
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8

___ A Buddha from India
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8

___ A boddhisatva
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8
Name of the boddhisatva:

___ Achala Vidyaraja (Japanese: Fudo Myoo)
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8

___ A Buddhist version of the Hindu god Brahma
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8

___ A Guardian King of the Four Directions
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8

JAINISM

___ A statue of a Jain Elder (also called a Jain Teacher)
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8
Give the Elder’s name:

HINDUISM

___ Shiva
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8

___ Kali
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8

___ Brahman
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8

___ Brahmani
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8

___ Ganesha
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8

___ Another Hindu god or goddess
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8
Give the other god or goddess’s name:

SIKHISM

___ Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8

ZOROASTRIANISM

___ The symbol of Ahura Mazda, the supreme deity
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8

DAOISM AND CHINESE RELIGIONS

___ Laozi (Lao-tzu), founder of Daoism
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8

___ He Xian-gu (Ho Hsien-ku), female (one of the 8 Daoist Immortals)
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8

___ Lan Caihe (Lan Ts’ai-ho), transgender? (one of the 8 Daoist Immortals)
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8

___ Any male Daoist Immortal (one of the 8 Daoist Immortals)
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8
Give his name:

___ Doumu, the Dipper Mother
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8

___ Chang-e (Chang-o), the Moon Goddess
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8
What animal is with Chang-e?

___ Liu Hai, god of wealth
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8
What animal is with Lui Hai?

___ Both male and female versions of the boddhisatva who is called either Guanyin or Avalokiteshvara
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8

ISLAM

___ A picture or statue of a religious leader or god
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8

RELIGIONS OF THE PHILLIPPINES

___ A ceremonial deity of the Ifugao people
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8

___ A Christian saint, or the Virgin Mary1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8

OTHER DEITIES, SEMI-DIVINE BEINGS, HUMANS

Write down any other deities, semi-divine beings, or religious persons that you find interesting:

___ Name:
Culture:
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8

___ Name:
Culture:
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8

EXTRA BONUS ITEM:

Make a sketch one god or goddess OR copy down the text from one description of a god or goddess:

 ____________

HINTS:

These are just a few hints, showing objects you might find on your scavenger hunt.

JainParshvarnatha

The Jain elder, or teacher, Parshvarnatha (a Jain elder, or “tirthankara,” is an all-knowing holy person who teaches others how to escape the cycle of death and rebirth)

Hindu Ganesha

The Hindu god Ganesha, from the Indian subcontinent (Ganesha has an elephant’s head, because his own head was chopped off when he was a child)

HinduGoddess

The Hindu goddess Parvati from Cambodia (Parvati is a goddess who saved the world through love)

To see the Hindu god Shiva, click here (Shiva is Parvati’s husband; he is Ganesha’s father; he is a destroyer god)

Sikh

An illustration showing the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak (he is not playing music in this illustration, but if you find this illustration you will find another illustration nearby that does show him playing music)

Version 2

The symbol of the supreme deity of Zoroastrianism (this symbol, called the “faravahar,” is actually a symbol of the soul’s union with Ahura Mazda, who is the supreme deity of Zoroastrianism)

TaoistGoddess

The Taoist Moon goddess Chang-e, who can be identified by her rabbits

During the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, Mission Control asked the astronauts to keep an eye out for Chang-e:

[Mission control] Roger. Among the large headlines concerning Apollo this morning, there’s one asking that you watch for a lovely girl with a big rabbit. An ancient legend says a beautiful Chinese girl called Chang-o has been living there for 4000 years. It seems she was banished to the Moon because she stole the pill of immortality from her husband. You might also look for her companion, a large Chinese rabbit, who is easy to spot since he is always standing on his hind feet in the shade of a cinnamon tree. The name of the rabbit is not reported.

[Apollo 11] Okay. We’ll keep a close eye out for the bunny girl.

TaoistImmortals

The Eight Taoist Immortals on a vase (each of the Eight Immortals usually carries a characteristic object: Han Xiangzi has a flute; Lan Caihe has a basket of flowers; Cao Guojiu has castanets; He Xiangu has a lotus flower; Li Tieguai has an iron crutch; Lu Dongbin has a sword; Zhang Guolao has a drum; Zhongli Quan has a fan)

Guanyin

Guanyin or Avalokiteshvara (this sculpture could be male or female; some sculptures of this deity are definitely male in which case they are probably called Avalokiteshvara, some are definitely female in which case they are probably called Guanyin)

PhillippineDeity

A ceremonial deity from the Philippines