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CSAS Lecture Series | The Thief Who Stole My Heart: The Material Life of Chola Bronzes

Vidya Dehejia, Barbara Stoler Miller Professor Emerita of Indian and South Asian Art, Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University
Friday, November 4, 2022
4:30-6:00 PM
Room 110 Weiser Hall Map
This talk commences by introducing the audience 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 temples 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, and author of over 20 books on the history of Indian art, in which she connects the visual and literary arts in meaningful ways. She has also served as Deputy Director and Chief Curator of the Freer & Sackler Galleries of the Smithsonian in Washington DC. Her latest study, released by Princeton University Press is titled The Thief Who Stole my Heart: The Material Life of Sacred Bronzes from Chola India, 855-1280. In 2012, the President of India awarded her a Padma Bhushan for “Outstanding Contribution to Art & Education.”

If there is anything we can do to make this event accessible to you, please contact us. Please be aware that advance notice is necessary as some accommodations may require more time for the university to arrange.
Building: Weiser Hall
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: Archaeology, Art History, Asia, India
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Center for South Asian Studies, International Institute, Asian Languages and Cultures