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Products for grant GI-264553-19

Dharma and Punya: Buddhist Ritual Art of Nepal
Todd Lewis, College of the Holy Cross

Grant details:

Dharma and Punya: Buddhist Ritual Art of Nepal (Catalog)
Title: Dharma and Punya: Buddhist Ritual Art of Nepal
Author: Jinah Kim
Author: Todd Lewis
Abstract: The catalog locates Nepal’s artistic heritage in the larger Himalayan and Indic culture zones and in a variety of mediums highlight its extraordinary artistic religious traditions. It brings special awareness to the unparalleled contributions of Newar artisans and patrons not only to the subsequent development of the Himalayan art but also to Indian art and the diaspora of Buddhist art across Asia. As an interdisciplinary project, the “Dharma and Pu?ya…” exhibition catalog underscores the contributions of people – patrons, donors, ritual specialists, or devotees – in creating and amplifying the efficacy of the artistic productions that are instrumental in expressing religious devotion and recording traditional ritual observances. To this end, ritual objects will be juxtaposed with what may be collected in the West as “fine art objects” like scroll paintings, painted manuscripts, wooden carvings, repoussé icons, or gilded images. The Nepalese “paubhas” (the term for hanging paintings on cloth in Nepal) and manuscripts are also frequently accompanied by colophons containing historical records of initial donations and subsequent ritual use. To date, no systematic attempt has been made to address the living traditions of Buddhist Devotionalism that underlie them. Sixty objects drawn from eight museums and two private collections will be displayed in the exhibition along with wooden carvings and a paubha painting commissioned for the exhibition from local artists in Kathmandu. The catalog explains each object in detail and will be an important forum to extend its impact to the larger scholarly community. The exhibition is divided into four parts: Section I. Ritual (Chapters 1 & 2); Section II. Text and Images (Chapters 3 & 4); Section III. Kathmandu Valley Context (Chapters 5 & 6); and Section 4: Artistic Practices (Chapter 7 & Notes from the field). There are seven scholarly essays and two short notes from the field.
Year: 2019
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: This exhibition highlights Nepal’s artistic heritage as a rich and enduring continuation of Indic Buddhist traditions. Featuring paintings, illustrated texts, sculptures, and ritual implements crafted by Newar artisans over the last millennium, “Dharma and Pu?ya: Buddhist Ritual Art of Nepal” will be centered on how the Buddha’s teachings were arrayed as much for worldly householders as otherworldly seekers. As the title suggests, it will illustrate the centrality of ritual in Buddhism, showing how illustrated narratives and common practices address every devotee’s need to make good karma (pu?ya), a central tenet of the Buddha’s teaching (dharma). Showing some objects never before displayed in the West, this historic exhibition will focus on the unparalleled contributions of Kathmandu Valley artisans and patrons not only in their communities, but in the subsequent development of Tibetan art.
Catalog Type: Exhibition Catalog
Publisher: Brill-Hotei