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Past Event

Virtual Saturday University: Pigments and Artistic Interventions in Indian Painting

Oct 24 2020

Asian Art Museum


10 AM – 11:30 AM

Saturday University Lecture Series: Color in Asian Art - Material and Meaning


Dip into dimensions of color and pigment in Asian art with eight in depth talks. From legend and ritual, to trade and cultural exchange, to technical innovation and changing artistic practices—the use of bold colors has been considered alternatively excessive, precious, or brilliant throughout history. What rare pigments and closely guarded techniques produced some artworks, and what artistic innovations and social changes produced others? Join us to enjoy a spectrum of talks on colors produced from the earth, sea, fire, plants, and insects.

Learning from Color: Pigments and Artistic Interventions in Indian Painting
Jinah Kim, Harvard University

Cosponsored by the University of Washington South Asia Center

How green is “Green Tara” in a Buddhist master’s vision? If color perception is subjective, how did color information circulate in premodern South Asia? Since when is Krishna blue, Amitabha red? And why? This talk explores how ritual practices and artistic interventions may have contributed to the propensity for primary colors in Indic painting traditions for codifying knowledge. While it is difficult to construe unnamed artists’ intentions, identification of pigments affords us a glimpse into artists’ intimate embodied knowledge of color when read together with other evidence.

About the Presenter

Jinah Kim is George P. Bickford Professor of Indian and South Asian Art at Harvard University, where she teaches South and Southeast Asian art. Professor Kim’s research and teaching interests include text-image relationships, female representations and patronage, re-appropriation of sacred objects, and post-colonial discourse in the field of South and Southeast Asian Art. Her books include Receptacle of the Sacred: Illustrated Manuscripts and the Buddhist Book Cult in South Asia (2013), and Garland of Visions: Color, Tantra and a Material History of Indian painting (forthcoming).



Dragon's Blood and the Blood of Dragons

OCT 10

The Colors of Space and Time

OCT 17

Shades of Green and White

OCT 24

Pigments and Artistic Interventions

OCT 31

Indigo in Two 15th-century Chinese Paintings


Korean Culture in Five Colors

NOV 14

Colors of the Earth, Colors of the Sky

NOV 21

Turquoise, The Sky Blue Stone


Free with registration, a link to the zoom webinar will be e-mailed to you. Two tickets available per registration.There are no series tickets, please register for each talk you wish to join. Please cancel if you won't be able to attend.
Image: A Nayika and Her Lover: Page from a Dispersed Rasamanjari Series, opaque watercolor, gold, and beetle-wing cases on paper, c. 1660-1670, Basohli, India, photo: Harvard Art Museums.

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