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Of Buddhas and Bowls
A lecture by Nachiket Chanchani (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)

This talk will query the ontological status of a conceptually and materially complex class of objects: pyrophyllite steles probably first made in the Irrawaddy Basin in Myanmar between circa 1000–1200 CE and eventually re-made in the Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau. Are these steles best understood as sculptures, as concrete embodiments of revered beings, or as receptacles with richly carved exteriors and secret interiors? By using a multi-pronged approach, including paleoradiology exams, this talk will shed new light on materiality, mobility, and identity. It will also reflect on acts of reuse not only as reclamations in times of scarcity but as crucial means of spreading esoteric Buddhist teachings.

A Global Middle Ages lecture.

February 14 at 6 pm
38 West 86th Street, Lecture Hall

$15 General | $12 Seniors | Free for people with a college or university affiliation or museum ID, people with disabilities and caregivers, and BGC members

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