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Asian Art and History

Asian Art and History

Buddhas, Beasts and Beliefs

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Asian Art and History 1

The Twelve Animals of the Lunar Calendar

Tuesday, January 9, 2024, 10:30am
The Baker Museum Signature Event Space
Jason Sun, Ph.D., Brooke Russell Astor Curator of Chinese Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The 12 animals of the lunar calendar, also known as animals of the Chinese zodiac, have been closely associated with human life since ancient times. They have been popular themes in art and folklore and depicted in various art media, with their images permeating every aspect of Chinese culture. This presentation examines the evolution of the 12 animals, their significant roles throughout China’s long history and their influence on neighboring cultures.

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Asian Art and History 2

How to Be a Just Ruler:
Lessons from the Indian Epic Ramayana

Tuesday, January 16, 2024, 10:30am
The Baker Museum Signature Event Space
Qamar Adamjee, Ph.D., Provenance Researcher South and Southeast Asian Art, Smithsonian National Museum of Asian Art

Despite tremendous challenges — becoming a victim of court intrigue, wrongful exile from his kingdom, his wife getting kidnapped, trying to get her back, finding new allies to help him, facing an invincible enemy with a powerful army and fighting to regain his place as leader of his people — Prince Rama, an avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu, is an exemplar of how one retains moral integrity and courage against all odds.

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Asian Art and History 3

The Hindu God Krishna in Early Cambodia

Tuesday, January 23, 2024, 10:30am
The Baker Museum Signature Event Space
Sonya Rhie Mace, Ph.D., George P. Bickford Curator of Indian and Southeast Asian Art, Cleveland Museum of Art

During the centuries when Hinduism began to be practiced in Southeast Asia, between the 500s to 700s CE, local artists created monumental sandstone sculptures of Krishna, several of which survive to this day. One example from a cave temple on a sacred mountain in the Mekong River delta is in the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art. The curator of the recent exhibition Revealing Krishna: Journey to Cambodia’s Sacred Mountain will discuss how she understands the role of Krishna in early Cambodian religious and visual culture. She will explain how the Cambodian vision of Krishna relates with counterparts in India and how regional artists and patrons envisioned Krishna in a new way, as part of the local ecological landscape.

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Asian Art and History 4

The Sun and the Moon in Asian Art and Beliefs

Tuesday, January 30, 2024, 10:30am
The Baker Museum Signature Event Space
Dany Chan, Associate Curator of Asian Art, Walters Art Museum

For millennia, the sun and the moon feature prominently in the artistic production of several cultures in Asia. From the Shinto sun goddess Amaterasu to the Hindu deity Ganesha and the ancient Chinese myth of Archer Yi and Chang’e, this talk explores how the sun and the moon manifest in the mythologies and arts of East Asia as well as in Hindu and Buddhist belief systems.

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Asian Art and History 5

Kami Veneration in Japanese Art

Tuesday, February 6, 2024, 10:30am
The Baker Museum Signature Event Space
Sinéad Vilbar, Ph.D., Curator of Japanese Art, Cleveland Museum of Art

Much of the world’s art and architecture are directly or indirectly related to religious traditions. The art of Japan is no exception. Gain insights into the world of kami veneration through Japanese art in the Cleveland Museum of Art and other institutions across the globe. Explore the history and material culture of religious practices called Shinto and learn about some of Japan’s sacred sites. Recognize some of the key elements of art related to kami worship and understand how they have been connected to Buddhism and other spiritual practices over the centuries.

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Asian Art and History 6

Unmistaken Child
Movie and Chinese New Year Luncheon

Tuesday, February 13, 2024, 10:30am
The Baker Museum Signature Event Space

In Nepal, a venerable monk, Geshe Lama Konchog, dies and one of his disciples, a youthful monk named Tenzin Zopa, searches for his master's reincarnation. The film follows his search to the Tsum Valley, where he finds a young boy of the right age who uncannily responds to Konchog's possessions. Is this the reincarnation of the master? After the boy passes several tests, Tenzin takes him to meet the Dalai Lama. Will the parents agree to let the boy go to the monastery, and, if so, how will the child respond? Central to the film is the relationship the child develops with Tenzin.

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Asian Art and History 7

A Portable Encyclopedia of Japanese Legends

Tuesday, February 20, 2024, 10:30am
The Baker Museum Signature Event Space
Monika Bincsik, Ph.D., Diane and Arthur Abbey Associate Curator for Japanese Decorative Arts, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Netsuke (miniature sculptural masterpieces, originally used as toggles) offer a window into the vast universe of Japanese history, myth, belief, scenes of everyday life, animals, flora and fauna, ghosts and demons. From mythical creatures to vegetables, netsuke subjects reflect artistic trends and customs of the Edo period, offering an insight into the original owner’s taste and lifestyle. From their first appearance in seventeenth-century Japan, netsuke were used as practical toggles for suspending everyday items from a man’s sash since the male kimono had no pockets. They were made of ivory, bone, ebony, wood and porcelain, and they could be decorated with inlaid mother-of-pearl, metal alloys and elegant lacquer patterns. The most famous master carvers created miniature sculptures of unparalleled beauty and power. Some netsuke could have functioned as a talisman, but they were primarily fashion accessories. In the late 19th century, they became coveted collectibles. 

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Asian Art and History 8

The Silk Routes and Buddhism in China, 3rd to 7th Centuries

Tuesday, February 27, 2024, 10:30am
The Baker Museum Signature Event Space
Annette Juliano, Ph.D., Professor of Far Eastern Art History, Rutgers University

For more than a hundred years, the silk routes have captured the imagination of the West as camel caravans, merchants, emissaries and Buddhist monks traversed forbidding terrains from the Eastern Mediterranean to the Far East and back. Recent archaeology underscored that these highways of culture and commerce were further amplified by a complex network of main and smaller sea and overland routes. This lecture will explore this cross-cultural activity, which brought diverse cultural objects from the West — and, most importantly, Buddhism — to China. Not only did this new religion literally change the landscape of China with cave temples, pagodas, magnificent sculpture and painting, but it also joined Daoism and Confucianism as one of the three legs of Chinese culture.

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Top image: Katsushika Hokusai (Japanese, 1760-1859). Under the Wave off Kanagawa (Kanagawa oki nami ura), also known as The Great Wave, from the series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku sanjūrokkei), c. 1830-32. Woodblock print; ink and color on paper, 10 1/8 x 14 15/16 in. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929, JP1847. Public Domain. Second image: Chinese Zodiac carvings on ceiling of Kushida Shrine, c. 1587. Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture, Kyushu Region, Japan. Public Domain. Third image: Ramakien depicted on mural at Wat Phra Keaw (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), c. 1800. Bangkok, Thailand. Public Domain. Fourth image: Krishna Lifting Mount Govardhan (detail), c. 600. Southern Cambodia, Takeo Province, Phnom Da. Sandstone with remains of lacquer and gilding; 188 (without 43 cm tenon) x 68 x 42 cm. National Museum of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, Ka.1641. Photo: Konstanty Kulik. Fifth image: Utagawa Hiroshige (Japanese, 1797-1858). Moon Seen through Leaves (Hagoshi no tsuki), from the series Twenty-eight Views of the Moon (Tsuki nijû hakkei no uchi), c. 1832. Woodblock print (nishiki-e); ink and color on paper, 14 15/16 x 6 11/16 in. William S. and John T. Spaulding Collection, 21.6792. Sixth image: Utagawa Kunisada (Japanese 1786-1865). Origin of Iwato Kagura Dance, 1856. Public Domain. Eighth image: Artist Unknown. Buddha Netsuke, n.d. Mammoth ivory. Public Domain.


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