Social Science Baha

Lecture Series LXV

Social Science Baha
invites you to its

Lecture Series LXV
Gautama V. Vajracharya   
Revisiting the Concept of Prana’ in Nepali and Indian Art  

5 pm • 28 February, 2013 (Thursday) • Yala Maya Kendra, Patan Dhoka

A ubiquitous characteristic of South Asian art is an inflated volume used for modelling the healthy body of a male or female figure. According to the art historian, Stella Kramrisch, this artistic feature, calledprana, is a technical device by which the artists revealed the existence of the life breath, filling and expanding the vessel of the body resulting from yogic breath-control. Despite the fact that this interpretation has been widely accepted, recent investigation indicates that in fact the element of prana is more closely associated with agrarian prosperity and vibrant life than with the practice of yogic breath control. Textual evidence supporting this view derives from unexpected sources such as Vedic literature, and Vātsyayana’s Kāmasūtra. In this illustrated talk, the speaker will demonstrate how the textual evidence coincides with these artistic phenomena.

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Gautama V. Vajracharya is a Sanskritist with a deep interest in South Asian languages, art and culture. He works as a consultant at the Rubin Museum of Art, New York. He taught History of South Asian Art at the University of Wisconsin since for the past 23 years. He received a prestigious Rockefeller grant to study Nepali and Tibetan works at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California. He earned a Master’s degree in art history at the Claremont Graduate School, California, and a PhD in South Asian language and culture at the Department of South Asian Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Dr Vajracharya has authored and edited many books and monographs, the most recent of which is a monograph on the monsoonal culture of South Asia. He has edited many Nepali journals including Purnima and published about 50 articles and four books on Nepali history and culture. His recent publications include Frog Hymn and Rain Babies: Monsoon Culture and the Art of Ancient (2013), Watson Collection of Indian Miniatures at the Elvehjem Museum of Art (2003), and Himalayas: An Aesthetic Adventure (Contributor) (2003).


 This is a public lecture and admission is free and open to all. Seating is first-come-first-served. 
Please direct queries to 4472807.