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Avatars of Vishnu Lecture Series by Carlos Museum
April 18, 2021 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
The Hindu god Vishnu reigns supreme as a divine sovereign entrusted with maintaining the stability and prosperity of the universe. When things go awry and the universe is threatened with chaos and disorder, Vishnu sends out different animal and human forms of himself (“descents” or avataras) to creatively solve cosmic problems.
In a colorfully illustrated lecture titled “Vishnu’s Divine Descents: Saving the World one Avatar at a Time,” Cynthia Packert, Christian A. Johnson Professor in the History of Art and Architecture at Middlebury College, will discuss the myths, meanings, and various artistic manifestations of Vishnu’s avataras, with a focus on his multiple human guises. Examples will be drawn from Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and the Rani ki Vav stepwell in Patan, Gujarat.
“At Hari’s Feet: Embroidering a Space of One’s Own in Colonial Bengal”
Dr. Pika Ghosh, Visiting Associate Professor of Religion, Haverford College
This lecture is the first in a series of public talks by distinguished art historians on the topic of the Avatars of Vishnu. These public talks are held in conjunction with an Emory class on the topic taught by Emory Associate Professor of Religion Dr. Ellen Gough. The students in the class will curate an exhibition from the museum’s collection of images of Vishnu and his avatars this spring.