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Hummingbirds and Orchids (47.36) — Martin Johnson Heade

The many lives of a South Indian goddess in the Detroit Institute of Arts

Friday, December 14, 2007 |6:30 PM – 7:30 PM

  • For Adults

6:30-7-30 PM, DIA Lecture Hall
Members Only Reception to Follow in Kresge Court

Dr. Padma Kaimal
Associate Professor of Art and Art History and Robert Hung-Ngai Ho Associate Professor in Asian Studies, Colgate University

The DIA's "Yogini Chamunda" was one of 64 goddesses and a handful of gods whose original home was a tenth-century temple in Kanchi, a city in southeast India. Professor Kaimal will explore how the Detroit goddess and her large stone companions—only nineteen of which survive— might have interacted with each other and devotees 1000 years ago. Could goddess worship have mattered more than we generally think? She will also examine why the extant sculptures were shipped from their original temple to an art dealer in Paris in 1926; how they found homes in 11 Western museum collections; and what is new and different about the roles they play there.

A note on the speaker:
Professor Padma Kaimal teaches the history of Asian art at Colgate University where she is the Robert H. Ho Associate Professor of Asian Studies. While Professor Kaimal's general field of research is the art and architecture of ancient south India, she specializes in the architecture of the Tamil region from 500 to 1000 AD. She explores themes of gender, patronage, sexuality, identity, and power in these ancient monuments.