Amaravati: the art of an early buddhist monument in context

Conference

Friday 5 September 2014, 18.00 – 20.45 (with registration from 17.30)
Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre, The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 0RN

Saturday 6 September 2014, 10.00 – 17.20 (with registration from 09.30)
The Hugh and Catherine Stevenson Lecture Theatre, British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG

buddhist relief sculpture
Amaravati: relief depicting a stupa with a figure of the Buddha standing at the entrance. Photograph © The Trustees of the British Museum.
Speaker(s) include: Akira Shimada (State University of New York at New Paltz), Peter Skilling (French School of Asian Studies [EFEO], Bangkok), Monika Zin (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München [Munich] and Freie Universität Berlin), Anna Slaczka (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam), Michael Willis (The British Museum), Nick Barnard (Victoria and Albert Museum), Catherine Becker (University of Illinois at Chicago), Roddy Murray (An Lanntair Arts Centre, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis), Nic Lee (The British Museum), Tracey Sweek (The British Museum), David Park (The Courtauld Institute of Art), D. Harsha Vardhan (Artist, Delhi).

Ticket/entry details: £20 (£12 students and concessions). Complimentary places available for British Museum staff and Courtauld staff/students with advance booking required. BOOK ONLINE: http://courtauld-institute.digitalmuseum.co.uk Or send a cheque payable to ‘Courtauld Institute of Art’ to Research Forum Events Co-ordinator, Research Forum, The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 0RN, stating the event title ‘Amaravati conference’.

Organised by:
Dr Michael Willis (The British Museum) and Professor David Park (The Courtauld Institute of Art).

The Great Stupa at Amaravati was one of the greatest Buddhist monuments in India. Founded before 200 BCE, it was enlarged and embellished with innumerable superb sculptures over the following four centuries.  More than 120 of these sculptures entered the collection of the British Museum in 1880, forming the most important single group of Indian sculptures outside the subcontinent.

This conference celebrates the reopening of the Asahi Shimbun Gallery, where the sculptures have been displayed since 1992, but which has been closed during construction of the Museum’s World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre. Organised by The British Museum and The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Art and Conservation at The Courtauld, the conference brings together leading specialists from around the world to address many aspects of Amaravati and its sculptures, from the rediscovery of the stupa at the end of the 18th century to its recreation in the 21st century.

Amaravati’s art will also be considered in the context of other surviving sculpture from the Andhra region of south-eastern India, which, despite its importance and quality, has been relatively neglected in the study of Indian art.

The conference opens on Friday evening with a keynote lecture by Professor Akira Shimada, author of a major recent study of Amaravati. This lecture is hosted by the Research Forum of The Courtauld and is followed by a reception. The conference continues at the British Museum on Saturday with a full day of presentations.

The Asahi Shimbun Gallery of Amaravati Sculpture will be open throughout Museum opening hours Friday 5 through Sunday 7 September.

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