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Medieval Indian Manuscripts and the Stories They Tell

Cleveland Museum of Art

Cleveland Museum of Art

The Cleveland Museum of Art is renowned for the quality and breadth of its collection, which includes almost 45,000 objects and spans 6,000 years of achievement in the arts. Having recently completed an ambitious, multi-phase renovation and expansion project across... more

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The Cleveland Museum of Art has an important collection of Buddhist and Jain manuscripts, some of which are being shown for the first time in the exhibition Text and Image in Southern Asia (August 26, 2022–March 5, 2023). This lecture explores the stories these manuscripts and others like them tell us about the religious, social, and economic worlds of their origin.

Who had these manuscripts made and why? How and of what were they made? How were they used and stored? How were they valued, as sacred texts to be worshiped or works of art? To study these manuscripts is a continuing process of asking questions, and in this talk Dr. Granoff shares her journey for these answers.

Phyllis Granoff received her PhD from Harvard University in the Departments of Fine Arts and Sanskrit and Indian Studies. After teaching at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, for many years, she moved to Yale University, where she was the Lex Hixon Professor of World Religions. She has written extensively on premodern Indian art, literature, and philosophy and has translated modern stories from Bengali and Oriya.

The annual Dr. Ranajit K. Datta Lecture brings nationally and internationally recognized experts in the fields of art history and archaeology to discuss new scholarship, museum exhibitions, and archaeological discoveries in Indian art.

The annual Dr. Ranajit K. Datta Lecture is made possible through the Dr. Ranajit K. Datta in Memory of Kiran P. and S. C. Datta Endowment Fund.

Sudhana and a Parrot: folio 20 (recto) (detail), from a Gandavyuha-sutra (Scripture of the Supreme Array), 1000–1100s. Nepal. Gum tempera and ink on palm leaf; average: 4.2 x 52.4 cm. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund, 1955.49.1.a

Medieval Indian Manuscripts and the Stories They Tell

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