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Distinguished Indian Art Scholar Pratapaditya Pal to speak at Detroit Institute of Arts

The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) will presents fascinating talk on art from the Indian subcontinent in the DIA’s collection by the foremost scholar on the arts and culture of the Himalayas and South and Southeast Asia, Pratapaditya Pal. The presentation is Sept. 27, 2014, at 2 p.m. and is free with museum admission.

Pal will discuss the essence of Indian art and aesthetic as it relates to India’s three major religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. In the Indian tradition, the spiritual ideal was expressed with sensuous elegance, as can be seen in many objects in the DIA collection.

For example, the 13th-century bronze statue of the goddess Parvati, the spouse of the Hindu god Shiva, is an embodiment of creative energy and nature’s abundance; formally it harmonizes physical charm and spiritual grace. This aesthetic principle also informs the sculptural form of other masterpieces in the collection such as the beautiful 14th-century gilt-bronze Buddhist goddess Vasudhara from Nepal and an Indian sandstone relief from an 11th-century Jain temple. It contains the simultaneous presence of two broad themes underpinning all three religions: Samasara or the realm of the householder represented by the flanking figures and that of vairagya or renunciation represented by the central naked, meditating Jina (Victorious One).

“We are excited and honored to have such a renowned expert as Dr. Pal, who rarely travels any more, share his knowledge about our South and Southeast Asian collection with a DIA audience,” said Birgitta Augustin, DIA associate curator of Arts of Asia and the Islamic World. “I’m certain he will provide enlightening information about these exquisite artworks.”

Pratapaditya Pal was born in Bangladesh and earned a doctorate in fine arts and history from University of Calcutta. In 1962 he received a Commonwealth Scholarship of Cambridge, where he got his second PhD. He moved to the United States in 1967 and has been associated with many prominent museums and universities for more than 40 years as curator and teacher respectively. He has organized numerous groundbreaking exhibitions on the arts of Asia and authored their respective scholarly catalogues.

Pal has written more than 60 books and catalogues on the ancient art and culture of India, Nepal and Tibet and was the general editor of Marg, the journal of art and culture published in India. Most recently, the famous School of Oriental and African Studies of London University created the Pratapaditya Pal Senior Lectureship in Curating and Museology in Asian Art with funding provided by the Alphawood Foundation of Chicago.

For membership information, call 313-833-7971.

Caption for attached image: Vasudhara, Unknown Artist, Nepalese, 12th Century, copper with gilding and gem stones. Detroit Institute of Arts

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Revised: 09/03/14 06:15:25 -0700.




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