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Featured Topic: Hinduism

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Hinduism and Hindu Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
A brief overview of Hinduism and Hindu art in India, with emphasis on the importance of architecture and sculpture. With 9 images of related artworks.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/hind/hd_hind.htm
Puja: Expressions of Hindu Devotion
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
"Hindu worship known as puja is the act of showing reverence to a god or to aspects of the divine. This online guide for educators offers background information, activities, a bibliography and a resource list about puja." Chapter 2 (Background Information) includes an excellent general guide to Hinduism, including information about the origins of Hinduism, Hindu beliefs, gods and goddesses, places of worship, and more. See also, the video Puja: Expressions of Hindu Devotion.

Go to Museum Resource: https://asia.si.edu/exhibition/puja-expressions-of-hindu-devotion/
Recognizing the Gods
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
A guide to the iconography of Hindu and Buddhist deities in South Asian sculpture. Discusses specific poses, hand gestures, postures, vehicles, and accoutrements. With images of 11 related artworks and an explanatory drawing of five mudras (hand gestures).

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/gods/hd_gods.htm
Sacred Texts: The Devimahatmya
The British Library
This manuscript "written on palm-leaf" is "a Sanskrit hymn extolling the Goddess as the Supreme Principle of the Universe." This version was "copied in 'Newari' script in 1549 and illuminated in Nepal with 32 miniatures and painted covers in the reign of Jayapranamalla of Bhaktapur (1523–?1550) for the use of the king." Featuring excellent high-resolution images of the manuscript, along with background information on Hinduism.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/sacredtexts/devimahatmya.html
Sacred Texts: The Ramayana
The British Library
This illustrated manuscript of the Ramayana (the story of the heroic deeds of Rama, Prince of Ayodhya) consists of seven large volumes with more than 400 paintings. Featuring excellent high-resolution images of one of the paintings from the manuscript, along with background information on Hinduism and the Ramayana.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/sacredtexts/ramayana.html
The Sensuous and the Sacred: Chola Bronzes from South India
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Online presentation of a 2003 exhibition of South Indian bronzes produced under the reign of the Chola dynasty (ca. 860-1279). The website features four sections: 1) a guide to the various Hindu saints depicted in the sculptures (Vishnu, Shiva, Ganesha, Uma, and others); 2) a step-by-step guide to how bronze sculptures of this type were produced; 3) a guide to how the sculptures would be used in religious practice; 4) a brief introduction to the Chola dynasty.

Go to Museum Resource: https://archive.asia.si.edu/exhibitions/online/chola/chola.htm
Five Faiths Project
Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Combines original works of art, photographs, storytelling and community events to introduce information about the world religions of Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. For art-related teaching, see the subtopic Art On-line for links to five works of art from each of the five religious traditions.

Go to Museum Resource: http://ackland.org/five-faiths-project/
Art Access: Art of India, Himalayas, and Southeast Asia
The Art Institute of Chicago
This introduction to the art of South and Southeast Asia features 15 representative objects (mostly Hindu and Buddhist sculptures) from the Art Institute's collection. The objects have good descriptive text with links to an excellent glossary and maps. The site also includes four lesson plans (specifically for grade levels 1-3, 4-8, 7-8, and 9-12, but adaptable for all age groups). Each lesson plan includes a list of the fulfilled Illinois Learning Standards for that plan, and the lesson plan Divine Faith Discussion lists some Buddhist, Hindu, and Islamic places of worship in the Chicago area. There is also a Family Activities section (with hands-on activities for younger children) and a bibliography of books and media.

Go to Museum Resource: https://archive.artic.edu/indian/
Art in Focus: The Legend of Krishna
Asian Art Museum of San Francisco
"The legend of Krishna has inspired Hindu art, poetry, music and philosophy for more than 2,000 years. This packet highlights the celebrated legend of this Hindu god as depicted in South Asian painting—from his mischievous childhood antics to his stately conduct as a prince and his awe-inspiring presence as the supreme spirit. Teaching activities feature selected excerpts from the legend of Krishna and paintings from the Asian Art Museum’s collection galleries."

Go to Museum Resource: https://education.asianart.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2019/12/ArtinFocus-Kr...
The Arts of Kashmir
Asia Society
"The Arts of Kashmir comprises works of Buddhist, Hindu, and Islamic art, including sculpture, painting, and calligraphy loaned from collections in the U.S., Europe, and India. Many of the objects have never been seen outside of India; in some cases they have never been exhibited or published anywhere. To provide a sense of the broad artistic contributions of this famously lush and beautiful region, the exhibition includes examples of stone and bronze sculptures and manuscript paintings, in addition to the fine examples of papier-mâché, carpets, shawls, and embroidery for which Kashmir is renowned."

Go to Museum Resource: http://sites.asiasociety.org/arts/kashmir/
Beliefs Made Visible: Religion and Art in South Asia
Asian Art Museum of San Francisco
View the whole series of religious arts in South Asia.

Go to Museum Resource: https://education.asianart.org/resources/beliefs-made-visible-religions-in-sout...
Beliefs Made Visible: Understanding Hindu and Buddhist Art in South Asia [PDF]
Asian Art Museum of San Francisco
"Explore the basic tenets and influences of Hinduism and Buddhism throughout Asia. Special attention is given to the evolution of Hinduism and Buddhism in India, and the representation of these beliefs in sculpture and religious architecture (stupas, temples, caves, and so on). Includes lessons on the traditions of threshold art and handouts on the symbolic gestures of Buddhas."

Go to Museum Resource: https://education.asianart.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2019/09/Beliefs-Made-...
Create a Thai Style Shadow Puppet
Asian Art Museum of San Francisco
Create your own shadow puppet and perform a scene from the Ramayana. Downloads include an activity guide, templates, and a slideshow.

Go to Museum Resource: https://education.asianart.org/resources/create-a-thai-style-shadow-puppet/
Create Balinese Shadow Puppets
Asian Art Museum of San Francisco
Create Balinese shadow puppets with these downloadable templates.

Go to Museum Resource: https://education.asianart.org/resources/create-balinese-shadow-puppets/
Dancing Ganesh [PDF]
Harn Museum of Art, University of Florida
Ganesha is one of the most popular and adored deities in the Hindu pantheon. Revered by Hindus as the “remover of obstacles,” he may be invoked at the beginning of any endeavor. He is also renowned as the patron of letters and the god of learning. The son of Shiva and Parvati, Ganesha’s origins and exploits are told in numerous stories. Ganesha is said to have received his elephant head after having his human one cut off accidentally by Shiva. Like many Hindu deities, Ganesha has multiple arms to hold his identifying attributes. Lesson plan.

Go to Museum Resource: http://harn.ufl.edu/linkedfiles/k-12resource-ganesha.pdf
Devotion in South India: Chola Bronzes
Asia Society
"The tradition of cast-bronze sculptures in the Tamil-speaking region of south India became widely prevalent under the imperial rule of the Cholas, who rose to prominence in the late 9th century at Tanjavur (Tanjore) in the delta of the Kaveri River. These sculptures, mainly created from the 9th through the 13th century, are of the highest quality. Reflecting a new approach to the subject matter, this exhibition considers cast-bronze sculptures in relation to the Hindu tradition of bhakti (devotion), which emphasizes intense and intimate devotion to a personal god. The depiction of itinerant poet-saints among Chola bronzes reflects the importance of these figures in promoting bhakti and the growth of Hindu temples."

Go to Museum Resource: http://sites.asiasociety.org/chola/
Diwali Festival and Threshold Art
Asian Art Museum of San Francisco
Students will: 1.) examine the Hindu tradition of threshold art; 2.) research how Diwali (Festival of Lights) is commemorated in India; 3. draw traditional labyrinth threshold patterns; 4.) work in teams to create a large labyrinth floor painting in celebration of Diwali. See also Making Rangoli: A Celebration of Color.

Go to Museum Resource: https://education.asianart.org/resources/diwali-festival-and-threshold-art/
Epic Literature – The Ramayana (Story of Rama)
Asian Art Museum of San Francisco
Students are introduced to the Ramayana (Story of Rama) and recall events by sequencing related art objects on a Story Hill. Then students make connections between artistic and literary depictions of character by comparing Vishnu and Ravana. Downloads include a lesson plan, multiple handouts, guides, and appendices, and a slideshow.

Go to Museum Resource: https://education.asianart.org/resources/epic-literature-the-ramayana-story-of-...
Good and Evil? Dynamic Opposites in the Story of Rama
Asian Art Museum of San Francisco
Students brainstorm the qualities of good and evil and draw conclusions about the Balinese concept of “dynamic” or balanced opposites. Then, students will relate the idea of “dynamic opposites” in the Ramayana (Story of Rama) to present-day situations by identifying a current problem, creating a visual identify for their own pair of opposing characters, and scripting a dialogue. Downloads include lesson plans, activities, background and slideshow.

Go to Museum Resource: https://education.asianart.org/resources/good-and-evil-dynamic-opposites-in-the...
How does Art Tell Stories?
Seattle Art Museum
Game about gods from India and Southeast Asia. See Ganesa dance, and discover why Vishnu changes into a boar and Buddha has a bump on his head. After learning about gods from India and Southeast Asia, use this guide for discussing the sculpture, Hinduism, Buddhism and for leading related activities. The unit theme links visual art with language arts, and in some activities with performing arts. Questions and discussion ideas, classroom activities, stories, glossary, and other resources are included. (Activities on Buddha, Vishnu, Hinduism and Buddhism.)

Go to Museum Resource: http://www1.seattleartmuseum.org/onlineActivities/ArtStories/
India! A Celebration [PDF]
Asian Art Museum of San Francisco
This packet was produced to accompany the exhibition India: A Celebration, shown at the Asian Art Museum in fall 1997.

Go to Museum Resource: https://education.asianart.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2019/12/IndiaaCelebra...
India: Shiva Nataraja (Lord of the Dance)
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
"Nataraja is one of the most important, visually thrilling forms of the Hindu god Shiva... Ta-dum, ta-dum, ta-dum..." beats the drum in Nataraja's hand, as he shakes it, giving rhythm to his dancing feet and sound to his image. Shiva, the auspicious one, is manifest here as the Lord of the Dance, a form he has taken not to entertain but perform cosmic work. Shiva Nataraja is crushing ignorance, presented by the sculptor as a demon under his feet who looks up benevolently at the god, even as his own ruin is in progress..."

Go to Museum Resource: https://asia.si.edu/learn/india-shiva-nataraja-lord-of-the-dance/
Indian Art: Puja and Piety [PDF]
Santa Barbara Museum of Art
In Puja and Piety, stone is one of the most universal materials used to make sculptures, shrines, and votives. It is part of Hindu belief that if a stone is shaped into a functional object, it becomes filled with a sacred essence and is used as part of puja (worship). Even stone unchanged by human hands can be held as sacred. In thousands of temples throughout India, svayambhu, a natural, uncarved stone, is the primary murti, or embodiment of the Divine. For over 2500 years, sculptors have been using stone as their medium. By knowing which stone would work best for their purposes, early artisans were able to create these enduring works of religious art.

Go to Museum Resource: https://content.sbma.net/education/lessonPlans/pdf/75Rock%20On-Janey%20Cohen-Hi...
A Kaleidoscope of Flowers (Hindu Threshold Art in India)
Asian Art Museum of San Francisco
Students will: 1). Examine the Hindu tradition of pookolam—a three-dimensional threshold art using flowers; 2). Research the harvest festival of Onam celebrated in the southwestern state of Kerala, India; 3). Create an auspicious flower decoration in celebration of Onam. Downloads include a lesson plan and slideshow. See also Making Rangoli: A Celebration of Color and Diwali Festival and Threshold Art for more on threshold art.

Go to Museum Resource: https://education.asianart.org/resources/a-kaleidoscope-of-flowers/
Krishna: Mythology and Worship
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Online presentation of a 2009 exhibition featuring "drawings, principally dating from the eighteenth-century...produced in the royal ateliers of the courts of Rajasthan and the Pahari hills of the Punjab. This exhibition provides unfettered insight into the creative process that underlies Indian miniature painting and signals the importance of the art of drawing in the later court arts of Hindu India." With images of 7 drawings from the exhibition.

Go to Museum Resource: https://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2008/krishna
Mandalas, Polygons, and Symmetry
The Kennedy Center, ArtsEdge
Students will explore the mathematics behind mandalas, including but not limited to shapes and symmetry.

Go to Museum Resource: https://artsedge.kennedy-center.org/educators/lessons/grade-6-8/Mandalas_and_Po...
Meeting God: Elements of Hindu Devotion
The Huntington Archive of Buddhist and Asian Art
India is a remarkably complex country. Throughout its several millennia of history, its many kingdoms, empires, invasions and trading contacts have created unparalleled cultural diversity.

Go to Museum Resource: https://huntingtonarchive.org/Exhibitions/meetingGodExhibit.php
Shadow Theater - Bringing Your Character to Life
Asian Art Museum of San Francisco
Students use visual evidence to convey character by constructing a visual identity for their shadow puppet, and demonstrate principles of shadow-casting and puppet-making by performing their shadow play. Download lesson plans, a puppet template and related unit on the Story of Rama.

Go to Museum Resource: https://education.asianart.org/resources/shadow-theater-bringing-your-character...
South Asian and Himalayas Art: Overview
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
The arts of South Asia and the Himalayas are closely intertwined with the subcontinent's many religious traditions. This region, which includes India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet, is the birthplace of three major religions: Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism. The Islamic kingdoms that were established in South Asia in the twelfth century brought new visual traditions to the subcontinent. Explore their past exhibits on South Asian and Himalayan art.

Go to Museum Resource: https://asia.si.edu/exhibitions/south-asian-and-himalayan-art/
The Story of Rama [PDF]
Asian Art Museum of San Francisco
In this unit, students are introduced to the basic background of Balinese Hinduism and to one of its main texts, the Ramayana (The Story of Rama), about a prince and his long hero’s journey. It began in India and spread among many countries throughout Asia. Its text is a major thread in the culture, religion, history, and literature of millions.

Go to Museum Resource: https://education.asianart.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2019/10/Rama.pdf
Warrior Kings and Divine Jesters: Indonesian Rod Puppets [PDF]
Asian Art Museum of San Francisco
This packet is designed to give an introduction to the world of Indonesian three-dimensional rod puppet theater (wayang golek) and to the stories told in performances using these puppets. Stories include Islamic and Javanese historical tales as well as Indonesian versions of the Ramayana, the epic story of the hero Rama.

Go to Museum Resource: https://education.asianart.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2019/12/WarriorKingsD...
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