Northwestern Events Calendar

Apr
22
2022

Myers Foundations Lecture: Melissa Kerin (Washington and Lee University), "Coming and Going: Marble Sculpture in the Creation and Memoralization of Lives in the Western Himalaya and the US"

When: Friday, April 22, 2022
2:30 PM - 5:00 PM Central

Audience: Graduate Students

Contact: Mel Keiser   (847) 491-3230

Group: Department of Art History

Co-Sponsor: Religious Studies Department

Category: Academic

Description:

Using her current research project on Buddhist fertility sites in India's Western Himalayan region, Professor Melissa Kerin (Washington and Lee University), will discuss how research questions determine methodological approaches, such as textual, ethnographic, and/or visual analysis. We will also think together about culturally-informed practices of navigating sensitive and personal topics related to family and fertility in the study of religion as its practice. Kerin will focus on a late-medieval marble statue of Chenrezig (Tibetan: spyan ras gzigs) from Tingmosgang (gting mo sgang) village, Ladakh, India as a case study. Once a powerful and important principality in the fifteenth century, Tingmosgang is now well known for its miraculously self-generated (rang byon) marble sculpture of a four-armed Chenrezig, known to the village as "Thukchechenpo" (Tibetan: thugs rje chen po) or the Great Compassionate One. Pilgrims from all over Ladakh come to propitiate this deity for many reasons, but chief among them is to ask the deity to grant the devotee a child. Indeed, this Buddhist shrine is a critically important site of fertility rituals among Ladakhi Buddhists and is connected to a larger network of little known Buddhist fertility sites. This workshop will be an opportunity for students to investigate interdisciplinary approaches related to material culture, religious history, and regional practices.

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