Dr. Sonya Quintanilla, Curator, Indian and Southeast Asian Art, The Cleveland Museum of Art, will explore a variety of ways in which Buddhists across Asia used the physical remains associated with deceased holy men to sanctify works of art and monuments.
The bodily remains, however tiny, of an extraordinary person can function to empower a monument to become a place of sanctity and the goal of pilgrimage. Texts describe the possession of relics as the cause for war among kings and the object of worship in heaven itself. Relics, however, were also the very things that made Buddhist monuments impure in the context of an orthodox Hindu society. This lecture will explore the ways early Buddhists in India responded to this dilemma, by ensuring that relics were mixed with costly substances and contained in reliquaries that would never have actually been seen. Comparative examples from Southeast Asia, Tibet, and China, as found in the Museum’s collection and current exhibitions, will also be shown as the outgrowth of India’s early traditions.
The Friday Morning Lecture & Tour Series, happening the third Friday of each month, focuses on works on view in the Museum. All lectures are followed by docent-led tours.
Sponsored by The San Diego Museum of Art Docent Council. Corporate Sponsors: GS Levine Insurance Services, Inc. and Ace Private Risk Services