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Across the South of Asia: A Symposium in Honor of Robert L. Brown

Across the South of Asia: A Symposium in Honor of Robert L. Brown

This symposium honors the scholarship of Robert L. Brown and his long career as a respected professor of South and Southeast Asian art, museum curator, and academic mentor.

Sunday, January 20, 2013
9:00 AM - 12:45 PM
James S. Copley Auditorium, San Diego Museum of Art
1450 El Prado
San Diego, CA, 92101
San Diego, CA 92101

After receiving his Ph.D. in art history from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1981, Robert Brown worked for several years as a curator of South and Southeast Asian art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). In 1986 he returned to UCLA as Professor of Indian and Southeast Asian Art History. In 2001, he was reappointed as a curator at LACMA, a position that he holds concurrently with his UCLA professorship.

In the same way that Robert Brown’s career has bridged the institutions of the art museum and the research university, his scholarship has also extended across various geographical boundaries and chronological periods. His research has addressed topics ranging from the visual traditions of 1st century BCE Central Asia to 20th century colonial historiography. Much of his work has focused on the Buddhist and Hindu artistic traditions that flourished during key historical periods in what are now present-day Pakistan, India, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, and Indonesia. His particular concern with the nature of artistic influence between India and Southeast Asia, and also between early Southeast Asian cultures themselves, have contributed greatly to the present understanding of artistic and cultural adaptation and exchange in these regions. His various essays, which present important perspectives on such subjects as pilgrimage, narrative, sacred space, ritual, divinity, relics, the body, miracles, and aesthetics, have also, in their interdisciplinary and cross-national emphases, provided a model of scholarship to his many students over the years. The papers in this symposium, which cover a wide range of subjects, reflect the enduring impact of Robert Brown’s teaching and intellectual generosity upon the work of his colleagues and former students.


6:00PM – 8:00PM
Keynote Lecture: Beauty and Enlightenment: Looking at Jain Art
Phyllis Granoff, Lex Hixon Professor of World Religions, Yale University
Professor Granoff will explore remarkable examples of Indian art, and argue that aesthetic appreciation was a central factor in the development of images of worship in the Jain religion.

8:00PM – 9:30PM
9:00 AM – 9:30AM: Coffee and Pastries
9:30AM – 9:50AM Welcome and Introduction
Sonya Rhie Quintanilla, George P. Bickford Curator of Indian and Southeast Asian Art, Cleveland Museum of Art

9:50AM – 11:10AM
The Movement of Buddhist 11th- and 12th-Century Portable Metal Imagery Between India and Tibet
Kurt Behrendt, Assistant Curator, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Brocaded Buddhas
Melody N. Rod-ari, Assistant Curator, Norton Simon Museum of Art

Images and Image Installation Rituals in Chinese Esoteric Buddhism
Koichi Shinohara, Professor, Yale University


11:20AM – 12:40PM
Dvaravati Wheels of Law: Reflections on Cakra, Surya, and the Buddha
M.L. Pattaratorn Chirapravati, Associate Professor, California State University, Sacramento

Land of Spirits: Re-reading the Dieng Plateau, Central Java (Indonesia)
Bokyung Kim, Assistant Professor, Whitman College

A Pivotal Sixth Century in Southeast Asian Art History?
Paul Lavy, Assistant Professor, University of Hawaii, Manoa

12:40PM – 2:00PM: LUNCH

2:00PM – 3:20PM
Deccan Echoes in Painting under Raja Bir Singh Dev Bundela of Orchha (r.1605-1627)
Edward Leland Rothfarb, Independent Scholar

Portraits of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb: Questions of Patronage and Mughal Decline
Tushara Bindu Gude, Associate Curator, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

More Faqir, Less Fanatic: Another Look at Aurangzeb's Architectural Program
Santhi Kavuri-Bauer, Associate Professor, San Francisco State University


3:30PM – 4:50PM
Home and Harem—India’s New Woman: Cosmopolitan, Feminist, and Fashionable
Gianna M. Carotenuto, Independent Scholar

Circuits of Exchange: Muraqqas and Illustrated Gift Books in the Early 20th Century
Saleema Waraich, Assistant Professor, Skidmore College

Kutch Silver: A Study of Stylistic Sources
Stephen Markel, Curator, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

7:30PM: Dinner for symposium participants
9:00AM – 9:30AM: Coffee and Pastries

9:30AM – 10:50AM
Silence, Secrecy, and Enigmatic Meaning in Esoteric Buddhist Art: Observations on the Stone Sculptures of Temple No.2 at Nalanda
Nicolas Morrissey, Assistant Professor, University of Georgia

Images of Astamahabhaya Avalokitesvara in Western Deccan: Buddhist Patronage and Trade after the 5th Century
Pia Brancaccio, Associate Professor, Drexel University

Heat and Hunger: The Emaciated Buddha and the Significance of Fasting
Robert DeCaroli, Associate Professor, George Mason University


11:00AM – 12:20PM
Kingship and Ritual of the Chalukyas at Badami: The Case of Mangalesha and Cave III
Julie Romain, Assistant Curator, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Relic, Icon, and Portraiture in Hindu Institutions: An Examination of the Worship of the Teacher
Nalini Rao, Associate Professor, Soka University of America

The Periphery as Center: the Ghurids between the Persianate and Indic Worlds
Alka Patel, Associate Professor, University of California, Irvine

12:20PM – 12:40PM
Closing Remarks
Robert L. Brown
, Professor, University of California, Los Angeles, and Curator, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Cost : Varying ticket prices. One-day tickets available online. Phone (619)232-7931 to purchase a 3-day ticket