For Students

Past Exhibitions: 2003

Divine Encounters, Earthly Pleasures: Twenty Centuries of Indian Art

December 13, 2003–February 22, 2004
West Gallery

                                                                                                                                            Krishna Massaging the Feet of Radha, Mankot School, ca. 1730
Krishna Massaging the Feet of Radha
Indian, Punjab Hills, Mankot School, ca. 1730
ink, opaque watercolor, gold and beetle thorax casings on paper
Museum purchase made possible by the Margaret Watson Parker Art Collection Fund, 1979/1.160

Savor the exuberance and intensity of Indian art in this spellbinding array of over 80 works of sculpture and paintings, ranging in date from the first to the twentieth century and representing the broad regional diversity of the vast subcontinent. From the cheerful smile of an extroverted Serpent King to the serene countenance of a beatific Vishnu, or from the playful dance of an elephant in a Mughal drawing to the exchange of passionate glances between lovers in a Rajput painting, works in the exhibition illustrate the uniquely Indian sense of intertwined divine and earthly realms. The first exhibition of Indian art at UMMA in over twenty years, Divine Encounters, Earthly Pleasures is drawn almost entirely from the Museum's collection, and most of the objects will be on display for the first time.

                                                                                                                                            Jain Tirthanka Venerated by a Monk, 18th century
Rajasthan, Sirohi, 18th century
Jain Tirthanka Venerated by a Monk, with Lakshi-Narayana and Ardhanarisvara
Ink, opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Leo S. Figiel and Dr. and Mrs. Steven J. Figiel, 1975/2.166

Divine Encounters, Earthly Pleasures is guest curated by UM alumnus Robert J. Del Bontà, a noted independent scholar who has published widely on Indian art and organized many exhibits at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco and the University of California at Berkeley. The exhibition is dedicated to Walter Spink, professor emeritus in the Department of the History of Art and one of the world's foremost authorities in Indian art history. Divine Encounters, Earthly Pleasures provides an opportunity to showcase a less well-known aspect of Professor Spink's formidable legacy–his role in helping to establish an outstanding collection of Indian art at UMMA, by advising the Museum on purchases, attracting gifts from donors, and by making gifts from the collection he assembled with his wife, Nesta.

                                                                                                                                            Vishnu stele, ca. 10th century
Vishnu stele
Northeast India, Pala period, ca. 10th century
Black schist.
Museum purchase made possible by the Margaret Watson Parker Art Collection Fund, 2003/1.385

This exhibition is suppported by Mary Palmer, the University of Michigan Institute for Research on Women and Gender, the Center for South Asian Studies, and Mary Paul Stubbs. Additional funding for educational programming has been provided by the The Roman J. Witt Visiting Faculty Program and the Penny W. Stamps Distinguished Visitors Program at the School of Art & Design, the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, the Asian Cultural Council, Target Stores, and the Friends of the Museum of Art.