Tags for: Transformations of a Buddhist Savior: Art and Avalokiteshvara
  • Lecture

The Dr. Ranajit K. Datta Distinguished Lecture in Indian Art

Transformations of a Buddhist Savior: Art and Avalokiteshvara

Saturday, November 4, 2017, 2:30 p.m.
Location:  Gartner Auditorium

About The Event

A class of Buddhist deities called Enlightenment Beings (bodhisattvas) became very importance in India in the early centuries AD. They are often associated with Mahayana Buddhism, and spread rapidly throughout the Buddhist world. The lecture focuses on the most popular and important bodhisattva named Avalokiteshvara. What explains his prominence that lasted throughout the Buddhist period in India? While he is known above all for his loving kindness to all living things, his role as savior had a hard edge as well, which made him the most powerful deity of all, eclipsing the Buddha, and giving him many characteristics that are more characteristic of the fierce Hindu deity Shiva. Some of the most amazing artistic representations of Avalokiteshvara occur in Cambodia, an important example of which, never seen outside of Cambodia, will be on loan to the museum in fall 2017.

Professor Robert Brown is professor of Indian and Southeast Asian Art at UCLA, where he has taught since 1986 and from which he also received his PhD in Indian art history in 1981. In 2001, he was appointed curator in the department of South and Southeast Asian Art at LACMA, a position he holds alongside his UCLA professorship. His research extends over broad geographical areas and chronological periods; four recent publications include the books Art from Thailand, Roots of Tantra, the Encyclopedia of India, and a translated book study on the Art of Ancient Cambodia with Natasha Eilenberg. At UCLA, he has trained more than twenty PhD graduate students who now hold positions in major museums and universities throughout the US.

This lecture is made possible by the Dr. Ranajit K. Datta in Memory of Kiran P. and S. C. Datta Endowment Fund.