Cave painting of Bodhisattva Padmapani, in Ajanta, ca. 2nd century, B.C.
Ever since its origins in an ancient civilization along the Indus River, the complex culture of South Asia has led to the creation of some of the world’s most remarkable art and architecture. In four sessions, Robert DeCaroli, a professor in the department of history and art history at George Mason University, highlights the artistic traditions and historical changes in the Indian subcontinent from the earliest archaeological evidence to the onset of colonialism.
July 12 Origins of South Asian Culture
Explore the beginnings of South Asian culture in the Harappan civilization, the emergence of the Vedic tradition, and the development of the first large-scale empires in the Ganges River basin. The early history of the Jain and Buddhist traditions is also discussed.
July 19 Kingdoms, Caves, and Temples
The arrival of the Kushan kings initiated a burst of creative fervor that continued during the reigns of their successors, most notably among the Satavahana and Gupta dynasties. Consider new forms of figural art, the splendors of rock-cut architecture, and the grand tradition of Hindu art and architecture.
July 26 Southern Dynasties and Northern Newcomers
Developments in the southern portions of the subcontinent are examined; the grand temples and spectacular bronze work of the Pallava and Chola courts are still a source of wonder. In the north, kingdoms formed whose rulers often embraced a new religious tradition, Islam.
August 2 The Mughal Court, the British Raj, and the Nationalists
Few moments in world cultural history can match the splendor of the Mughal court at its height. As this empire’s power faded, a group of foreign merchants and mercenaries brought European ideas to South Asia. The colonial period and the eventual rise of nationalist movements are discussed; traditions shifted in painting and architecture.
World Art History Certificate core course: Earn 1 credit*
*Enrolled participants in the World Art History Certificate Program receive 1 core course credit. Not yet enrolled? Learn about the program, its benefits, and how to register here.