Hindu Sculpture: The Many Faces of God
Hinduism has long accepted additions—to its pantheon, philosophies, devotional practices—but it has never discarded its ancient traditions As a result, the religion reveals both dizzying diversity and strong strains of continuity. Joan Cummins, Curator of Asian Art at Brooklyn Museum, looks primarily at sculptures from the exhibition From India East, to seek out the commonalities between seemingly disparate images of Hindu and Buddhist deities. The sculptures reveal a network of exchange and appropriation that is far richer and more complex than the simple eastward vector of influence that we expect to find in the history of Asian art.
This richly illustrated keytalk is part of Exporting Enlightenment, a ten-part series over the summer that traces the spread of Buddhism and Hinduism along these cultural and trade trajectories. For the full series that accompanies the exhibition From India East see www.rmanyc.org/exportingenlightenment
About the Speaker
A scholar of the art of India, Joan Cummins joined the Brooklyn Museum in 2007. From 1998 until 2005, Cummins was Assistant Curator of the Department of the Arts of Asia, Oceania, and Africa at the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), Boston, and until 2006, served as a consultant to the MFA. She received a BA from Brown University and MPhil and MA degrees from Columbia University where she was also awarded a PhD. Early in her career she was a research assistant at the Brooklyn Museum in the Department of Asian Art. She has lectured and published widely and is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards. She is the author of Indian Painting: From Cave Temples to the Colonial Period, recently published by the MFA Boston. Cummins is currently heading a major reinstallation of the Asian Art collections at the Brooklyn Museum.
Image: Shiva Nataraja Tamil Nadu, South India; 18th century Bronze Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Frank L. Babbott, 27.959