The Migration of Vishnu into Southeast Asia
“The Migration of Vishnu into Southeast Asia” will begin by discussing the earliest Vishnu image found in Southeast Asia relative to its potential Indian antecedents from various parts of the Indian subcontinent. Although this early image relates quite closely to its Indian prototypes, the successor images of long-robed Vishnus that appear throughout Southeast Asia show little affinity to those being sculpted at the time in India. Later, as individual polities evolve in Southeast Asia, so do specific sculptural styles, some of which again demonstrate similarities with what was occurring in India. The talk will end with a consideration of the Indian influence on some of these later styles.
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
Michael de Havenon is an independent scholar specializing in sculpture produced in Southeast Asia before the ninth century. In this illustrated talk he looks at how the image of Vishnu shifted as it was carried along trade routes to the kingdoms of Southeast Asia.
Image: Visnu, from Wat Sala Tung, Chaiya District, Surat Thani Province, Thaliand, second quarter of the 6thcentury, Sandstone, height 67 cm, National Museum, Bangkok. Photo credit: Hiram W. Woodward, Jr.