Segments in this Video

Migration of Vishnu: Introduction (08:21)


There is little consensus among scholars on the migration. Michael De Havenon describes the holy trinity of Hinduism: Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. He outlines regions and empires he will cover in his presentation.

Dating the Chaiya Vishnu (07:28)

Most scholars accept that the first Southeast Asian Hindu sculptures were those that most closely resembled Indian prototypes. Historian Stanley O’Connor had a different view, allowing him to more accurately date the Chaiya Vishnu to around 400 CE.

Bhimal Vishnu (05:44)

De Havenon compares the Chaiya Vishnu to a similar statue recovered at Yeleswaram. The Bhimal Vishnu artifact was recovered from Rajasthan and dates back to the Gupta Empire.

Amalgamation of Styles (04:24)

De Havenon compares the Chaiya Vishnu to another image recovered from Northern India that dates back to the late fourth or early fifth century. He refers to the research of Sara Schastok who dates the Bhimal Vishnu to around 510 to 520 CE.

Southeast Asian Style (03:18)

De Havenon discusses a group of sculptures from Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam that were examined by French archaeologist Pierre Dupont. He compares the Chaiya Vishnu to an image he refers to as the Petburi Vishnu, which was recovered from peninsular Thailand.

Dvarapala at Elephanta (04:01)

De Havenon compares the Petburi Vishnu to an rock-cut sculpture of a dvarapala found inside the Elephanta Cave Temple. The image dates to 550 CE.

Cambodian Variation (03:52)

De Havenon compares the Petburi Vishnu to an image from Cambodia that dates back to the seventh century. The image was designed with an aesthetic goal in mind. He compares and contrasts the Cambodian Vishnu with an image from the Badami cave temples in western India.

Phnom Kulen (04:42)

De Havenon discusses a Vishnu sculpture discovered at Kulen Mountain in Cambodia that dates back to the ninth century. He compares it to a “formulaic” Indian image from the eighth century.

Mysterious Indian Image (04:58)

De Havenon examines a Vishnu image that was buried in the trunk of a tree in Thailand and discovered by a mining engineer in 1902. Based on stylistic clues, he believes the statue or its artist came from India.

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The Migration of Vishnu into Southeast Asia

Part of the Series : Exporting Enlightenment
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The Migration of Vishnu into Southeast Asia will begin with a discussion of the earliest Vishnu image found in Southeast Asia relative to its potential Indian antecedents from various parts of the Indian subcontinent.  Although this early image relates quite closely to its Indian prototypes, the successor images of long-robed Vishnus that appear throughout Southeast Asia show little affinity to those being sculpted at the time in India.  Later, as individual polities evolve in Southeast Asia, so do specific sculptural styles, some of which again demonstrate similarities with what was occurring in India.  The talk will end with a consideration of the Indian influence on some of these later styles.

Length: 47 minutes

Item#: BVL143734

ISBN: 978-1-64481-082-8

Copyright date: ©2013

Closed Captioned

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