29.11. From the MATHURA area to the MEKONG delta: Religious and art transfer from India to Indonesia

Date: Thursday, November 29, 3:50 PM

Venue: Room 427, Celetná 20


Department of South and Central Asia

Invites you to a lecture by

Prof. Dr. A. J. Gail

Freie Universität Berlin

The ‘Indianization of Southeast Asia’ (Coedès) during the post-Christian centuries is an event that was as spectacular in terms of cultural transfer as the ‘Hellenization of the Orient’ (D. Schlumberger).
In the year 1928 the French archaeologist Louis Malleret excavated a beautiful image of the sun god (Sūrya) in the Mekong delta that forms part of the collection of the Museum of National History in the Ho Chi Minh City (pre-communist Saigon).
This figure shows traits both of the “northern dress” of the early Indian Sūrya (coat and boots = udīcyaveṣa) and of the Southeast Asian dress (skirt = sampot).
Taking this figure as our starting point I want to discuss the various aspects of sun worship in India (Vedic, Hellenistic, Iranian, Hindu), particularly the development of sun images (2nd – 5th century CE) and their influence on the Mekong Sūrya etc.
Finally, I will outline how Indian religious movements imbued both the entire subcontinent and southeast Asia and how the Indian sun cult most probably travelled from Northern India to the mainland and the islands of Southeast Asia.

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