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Edwin Binney 3rd Memorial Lecture: The Thief Who Stole My Heart

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Edwin Binney 3rd Memorial Lecture: The Thief Who Stole My Heart


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Saturday, April 8
10:00 a.m.–noon PT
Speaker: Vidya Dehejia, Barbara Stoler Miller Professor Emerita of Indian Art at Columbia University
Virtual Event


Join an online lecture with internationally renowned scholar of Indian art Vidya Dehejia. Be introduced to a master sculptor working around the year 1000 whose inspiration may well have been child-saint Sambandar’s opening hymn that hails Shiva as “the thief who stole my heart.” Dehejia then moves beyond the sensuous to ask questions of this material that have not been asked before, treating the bronzes as material objects that interacted in meaningful ways with human activities, and with socioeconomic and religious practices. Where did the Cholas acquire the copper required to cast the many temple bronzes that are solid and heavy pieces of metal? Why were the Cholas obsessed with island Sri Lanka? What were the circumstances that permitted the creation of so many temples and such large numbers of exquisite bronzes despite the constant warfare that the Chola monarchs undertook to retain and expand their empire? What was the source of the pearls and coral, rubies and diamonds that were embedded in gold jewelry gifted to adorn every temple’s sacred bronzes? Why did the Cholas cover the walls of their temple walls with inscriptions– over 12,000 in total – that cast intriguing light on society of the time?

Vidya Dehejia is Barbara Stoler Miller Professor Emerita of Indian Art at Columbia University in New York. An internationally renowned art historian, she is the author of a range of books on the history of Indian art that connect the literary and visual arts in meaningful ways. Her most recent publications include The Thief who Stole My Heart: The Material Life of Sacred Bronzes from Chola India, 855-1280 and India: A Story through 100 Objects. Other well-known books include The Unfinished. Indian Stone Carvers at Work (2016), The Body Adorned (2012), The Sensuous & the Sacred: Chola Bronzes from South India (2002), Discourse in Early Buddhist Art (1997). Between 1994-2002, Dr. Dehejia served as Chief Curator & Deputy Director of the Freer & Sackler Galleries of the Smithsonian in Washington DC, and as Acting Director in 2001-2002. In 2016, she presented the 65th annual A.W. Mellon lectures in the Fine Arts at the National Gallery in Washington DC, a series in which the art of India was featured for the very first time in the 65-year history of the Mellon lectures. The President of India awarded her a Padma Bhushan in 2012 for “Outstanding Contribution to Art & Education.”


Please reserve your spot by clicking on this link. All participants will be sent the Zoom link and instructions via email once you secure your place. Space is limited.

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Sponsored by the South Asian Arts Council.

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April 8, 2023
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
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