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Please join us on Tuesday, April 13, 12–12:45 pm for our monthly series Sneak Peek: New Research from the Freer and Sackler. This month’s lecture, Casting the Buddha Across Southern Asia, will be presented by Donna Strahan, Head of the Department of Conservation and Scientific Research at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art.
The first production of copper alloy images of the Buddha began by the third century in Pakistan and Afghanistan. As Buddhism spread, the need for sculptures—and by extension production techniques for them—also traveled north from India to China, Korea, and Japan, and south to Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, and Indonesia. Early representations of the Buddha were interpreted differently from region to region, with a range of views on how to use and understand the imagery. New materials and technology similarly led to the development of localized styles and varied appearances. In this talk, conservator Donna Strahan will discuss her research on the evolution of the materials and techniques of Buddhist castings along this lesser-known southern route in Southeast Asia.
Donna Strahan received a BA in Chinese language and an MA in the conservation of ethnographic and archaeological objects from George Washington University. She has been a conservator at the Conservation Analytical Laboratory, Smithsonian Institution, and at The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. She was head of conservation at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco for eight years. From 2006 to 2014, Donna was the conservator in charge of Asian objects at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
This talk is part of the series, Sneak Peek: New Research from the Freer and Sackler, where museum staff present in-depth, personal perspectives on and discuss ongoing research connected to works in the Freer and Sackler collections.
Lizzie Stein, Scholarly Programs and Publications Specialist
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian's National Museum of Asian Art