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.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.asia.si.edu/education/pujaonline/puja/start.htm
 
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
 
Devi: The Great Goddess
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Online presentation of a 1999 exhibition that looked at the six aspects of the goddess Devi, all-important in Hinduism, but also relevant to Buddhism and Jainism. Informative text organized into four topics: 1) Who Is Devi; 2) Aspects of Devi; 3) Interpreting Devi; 4) Tantric Devi Series. Pop-up glossary and illustrations throughout. The "Tantric Devi Series" features a selection of images from a set of 17th-century paintings that visualize Devi in expressive forms of strength and beauty.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.asia.si.edu/education/devi/index.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
 
Stories of Krishna: The Adventures of a Hindu God
Seattle Art Museum
"The nine paintings in this interactive tell the story of Krishna, an incarnate of the Hindu god Vishnu. Follow the story of Krishna from his birth to his adventures slaying evil demons. Originally written in Sanskrit text, these stories of Krishna go back to the 5th century BCE and sing the praise of Vishnu and all his earthly forms." With short, illustrated audio clips that introduce the story in each painting, plus additional audio clips that introduce details and characters in each painting.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.seattleartmuseum.org/exhibit/interactives/intimateWorlds/launchWin.h...
 
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: http://www.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: http://www.artic.edu/artaccess/AA_India/index.html
 
Art in Focus: The Legend of Krishna
Asian Art Museum of San Francisco
"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." Please note that the .pdf version of this educator resource packet can be downloaded for free. The PayPal link next to the resource is for buying the packet in booklet form with an image CD and slides.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.asianart.org/educatorresources.htm
 
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: Introduction to Hindu and Buddhist Art
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." Please note that the .pdf version of this educator resource packet can be downloaded for free. The PayPal link next to the resource is for buying the packet in booklet form with an image CD and slides.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.asianart.org/educatorresources.htm
 
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/
 
Epic India: Scenes from the Ramayana
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Online presentation of a 2010 exhibition of "lavishly illustrated manuscripts commissioned in the court ateliers of Rajasthan, western India, and the Punjab Hills in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries." With images of 28 artworks included in the exhibition.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.metmuseum.org/special/se_event.asp?OccurrenceId={D7754927-FF57-4445-...
 
Hindu Community Views on Objects in the Collection
Victoria and Albert Museum
"From April to September 2006, seven advisory groups were held with members of different faith community groups. The aims of these were to consult with the communities that the V&A collections were relevant to and see what reactions they had about the V&A collections. The participants were asked to select from groups of pictures of V&A objects and prioritise what items struck them most. These could be for personal reasons or how important they were from a cultural or faith point of view, artistically or whether they still had relevance to their lives today." With 11 artworks.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.vam.ac.uk/collections/asia/asia_features/hinduviews/index.html
 
Krishna: Mythology and Worship
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Online presentation of a 2008 exhibition of "23 paintings—mostly manuscript pages produced in Rajasthan and the Punjab Hills—illustrating popular events from Krishna's life, and textiles that were used to enhance devotional shrines, and sculptures." With images of 7 artworks.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.metmuseum.org/special/se_event.asp?OccurrenceId={87D3D41B-2105-467F-...
 
Living Line: Selected Indian Drawings from the Subhash Kapoor Gift
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: http://www.metmuseum.org/special/se_event.asp?OccurrenceId={33B746E9-9D86-4D81-...
 
Warrior Kings and Divine Jesters: Indonesian Rod Puppets
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, including Islamic and Javanese historical tales as well as Indonesian versions of the Ramayana, the epic story of the hero Rama." Please note that the .pdf version of this educator resource packet can be downloaded for free. The PayPal link next to the resource is for buying the packet in booklet form with an image CD and slides.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.asianart.org/educatorresources.htm
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