Asian Art Expert To Discuss Significance Of UM Museum Photo Exhibit

The inside of a cave in Dunhuang, China displays intricate paintings and a Buddha statue. Photo courtesy of Angela Howard
An expert on the Buddhist art of China will discuss what we can learn about the evolution of religion and culture of Central Asia through photographs of the intricate cave paintings of Dunhuang, China, during a lecture Tuesday (March 21) at the University of Mississippi Museum.

Angela Howard, professor of Asian art at Rutgers University, will speak at 5 p.m. in the museum’s Speaker’s Gallery. The event, held in conjunction with the museum’s “Dunhuang through the Lens of James and Lucy Lo,” is free and open to the public.

“The University Museum is very pleased to offer this lecture by such a distinguished international scholar,” said Robert Saarnio, the museum’s director. “Professor Howard’s teaching spans Chinese and Japanese art and has focused primarily on the development of Buddhist art in China, making her a perfect speaker to accompany this exceptional Silk Road photography exhibition.”

The exhibit features photographs taken of the caves in the 1940s by the Los. The nearly 500 caves are in the northwestern area of China, along the ancient Silk Road, and are a major Buddhist pilgrimage site. Each one features intricately painted artwork, dating to between the fourth and 14th centuries.

Joshua Howard, UM Croft associate professor of history and international studies and Angela Howard’s son, approached the museum staff about partnering for this event in conjunction with the exhibit of the Los’ photographs.

“Dr. Angela Howard is an authority on the Buddhist art of China and Central Asia, and she happens to be my mother,” Joshua Howard said. “When the University Museum was able to borrow the photographic exhibit on Dunhuang caves, which was facilitated by my mother’s contacts at Princeton University, I reached out to my mother to present a talk.

“Dunhuang is very much on her mind these days as she’ll also be teaching an on-site workshop there this summer sponsored by the Woodenfish Foundation.”

Angela Howard specializes in the Buddhist art of China and Central Asia and has studied the culture and area extensively. She said she plans to discuss “how the photos of the Dunhuang caves’ architecture and paintings enable us to reconstruct the type of Buddhism practiced at Dunhuang, a Chinese transformation of Indian and Central Asian traditions.”

The “Dunhuang through the Lens of James and Lucy Lo” exhibit is on display through April 29.

The museum, at the corner of University Avenue and Fifth Street, is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Admission is free. For more information about museum exhibits and events, visit http://museum.olemiss.edu/.


By Christina Steube

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