Seminar Series: Jinah Kim on "Transporting Visions: Pothi as Mobile Information Device in Medieval South Asia"


Thursday, October 28, 2021, 3:30pm to 5:00pm


Virtual by registration
Jinah Kim (History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University) will give a talk titled "Transporting Visions: Pothi as Mobile Information Device in Medieval South Asia" as part of the Fall 2021 South Asia Seminar Series. The seminar theme is "The Construction and Circulation of Ideas: Orality, Textuality and Materiality."

How did a vision of Buddhist goddess Green Tārā travel in pre-modern times? What about a series of complex imagery of tantric vision practices? How did any visual information travel for that matter? This talk considers the inherent mobility of a pothi-format manuscript and the pothi manuscript’s role in transmission and circulation of visual knowledge.  We will explore how the introduction of painting to the production of pothi manuscripts at the end of the first millennium opened a new horizon for ready circulation and transfer of visual knowledge, that too, in color.  Surviving manuscript evidence and textual evidence suggest that those in tantric Buddhist communities eagerly embraced the potential of a manuscript as a mobile device for controlled dissemination of visual information. At least in one incident, a Nepalese manuscript was designed to contain visual and textual information about the powerful pilgrimage sites across the Buddhist world, contributing to the construction of the idea of the medieval Buddhist world that were trans-regionally and cross-culturally connected.

Sponsored by: South Asia Institute

Please register for the entire seminar series here.