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Thread: ARTS: The Met's 2023 Distinguished Lecture on Arts of South and Southeast Asia

  1. #1
    Treeleaf Unsui Nengei's Avatar
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    Dec 2016
    Minnesota's Driftless Area

    ARTS: The Met's 2023 Distinguished Lecture on Arts of South and Southeast Asia

    Here is a video of the 2023 Annual Distinguished Lecture on the Arts of South and Southeast Asia--Fragrant Stories: Buddhist Art in Early India. The speaker is John Guy, the Florence and Herbert Irving Curator of the Arts of South and Southeast Asia, Department of Asian Art at The Met.

    Sat today. LAH.

    遜道念芸 Sondō Nengei (he/him)

    Please excuse any indication that I am trying to teach anything. I am a priest in training and have no qualifications or credentials to teach Zen practice or the Dharma.

  2. #2
    Thank you, Nengei. This looks great! I have bookmarked it to watch later. (Once a upon time I was an art history major with a special interest in Buddhist art.)
    st lah

  3. #3

    It is always wonderful to see, as a Zenny, that the earliest "depictions" of Buddha where no depiction at all ... an empty space, footprints, a seemingly empty chair, the Wheel of Dharma, a tree, a Stupa ... each standing in place of depicting the Buddha in any fixed human form ...

    Gassho, Jundo


  4. #4
    Hi all

    Thank you for this Nengei, I shall watch later.

    I believe the Buddha's of Bamyan in Afghanistan were possibly the first attempts to depict the Buddha in human form (if my history sources are correct), as opposed to the signs, such as a wheel, footprint, or hand (depicting the 32 marks of course). While I was there it was possible to see smaller, more life-sized carvings, but the giant were had been blown up years before I arrived. The traders in the markets do a good tourist trade in 'ancient Buddhist relics', but the provenance was questionable to say the least. The people there, the Hazaran's, are also a bit cagey with Buddhist relics due to the Taliban's influence, and often do not want to take you to sites of interest in case they are seen to do so. Sadly, it is often not safe to go to these places on your own due to the landmines - even if you are with the military! I wonder what treasures of ancient art, Buddhist or otherwise, are yet to be rediscovered there.

    Thank you for stirring some fond memories.

    Gassho, Tokan

    平道 島看 Heidou Tokan (Balanced Way Island Nurse)
    I enjoy learning from everyone, I simply hope to be a friend along the way

  5. #5
    Two aspects of the MET lecture are especially poignant to me:

    - The symbols of the economic support of early Buddhism by merchants, the powerful in society. Simply, someone had to pay for all the building of stupas and monasteries and the support of monks.

    - Very interesting to me were the symbols of the incorporation of earlier and surrounding nature religions into Buddhist thought, not unlike how Japanese Shinto and its naturalism merged very much with Buddhism in Japan centuries later. It explains how many of the very unusual gods and spirits, like the snake nagas and such, became entangled in Buddhist story and myth.

    Thank you.

    Gassho, J


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