Ganesha, c. 1070. Bronze; 19-3/4 in. Katherine Holden Thayer 1970.62
  • Ganesha, c. 1070. Bronze; 19-3/4 in. Katherine Holden Thayer 1970.62

Gods and Heroes of India

Grade Level: 
Student Level: 
Middle School

The adventures of Rama and Hanuman in the Indian epic, The Ramayana, are just a few of the fascinating stories of Hindu and Buddhist gods and heroes covered in this introduction to the history and culture of India. Students are introduced to the incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu, as the man-lion Narasimha, and the Bodhisattva of Compassion, Avalokiteshvara, through works of art in the museum's collection. A viewing guide assists students in analyzing the information presented.

Program Format: 
  • Open discussion with students' previous knowledge on Hinduism and/or Buddhism.
  • Explain Hindu trinity and introduce Hindu works.
  • Summarize stories from the Ramayana.
  • Graphic organizer interactivity throughout videoconference.
  • Highlight some similarities and differences between Hinduism and Buddhism.
  • Introduce Buddhism and Buddhist works from the museum's collection.
  • Students will learn about Hindu and Buddhist deities and their relationship to some of the heroes of the epic stories of India.
  • Students will gain a better understanding of the physical representations of gods and heroes in Hindu and Buddhist art, and learn to interpret some of their symbolism.
  • Students will learn the characteristics of myth and understand how culture is revealed through the stories it tells.
  • Students will be introduced to the cultural and historical context of selected works of art and learn how art can tell a story.
  • Students will be introduced to the characteristics of mythology and learn that ancient myths, legends, and stories are used to explain the natural world, to teach morals, and to entertain.