Research Programs: Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars

Period of Performance

5/1/2004 - 4/30/2005

Funding Totals

$40,000.00 (approved)
$40,000.00 (awarded)

Art as Text: Sculptural Narrations of the Ramayana in Classical Java

FAIN: FB-50628-04

Cecelia Levin
Wellesley College (Wellesley, MA 02481-8203)

This project explores the nature and roles of narration in the visual arts by means of the most extensive and imaginative sculptural interpretation of the great Hindu epic, the "Ramayana." Carved onto the surfaces of the main shrines of a ninth-century temple complex known as Loro Jonggrang in Central Java, this unique narrative program will be explored by a new, interdisciplinary approach that parallels how stories were transmitted throughout South and Southeast Asia. The major result of the project will be a volume that serves as an introduction to the culture of Classical Java; the sacred "Ramayana" epic that is still revered by countless people through Asia; the arts of narration in South and Southeast Asia; and innovative modes of narrative interpretation. It is believed that this project and its outgrowths will become rewarding contributions to scholars of various Asian cultural disciplines and their students; art historians in all fields of study, and academicians of diverse aspects of the humanities. More significantly, it is hoped that they will be a source of inspiration for all creative artists and enrich the lives of individuals.