Ellen Bayard Weedon Lecture

Thursday, October 6 - 5:00 PM

“Buddha, Shiva, Mudra: On Understanding the Development of Ananda Coomaraswamy”

Janice Leoshko, Associate Professor of South Asian Art, University of Texas, Austin


This lecture considers how Ananda Coomaraswamy (1877-1947) developed his scholarly practice about South Asian art and culture, a role he took on after he abandoned his scientific career in Sri Lanka. The approach taken here illuminates the central place of Buddhist elements in the perspective that Coomaraswamy constructed by the time he began to work as a curator at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in 1917. This lecture demonstrates how some of his subsequent moves can be better evaluated with a greater understanding of his time spent in Sri Lanka and bringing diverse threads together, This includes his mineralogical activities and collecting efforts of material for his first book with a pivot towards discerning South Asian fine art.


Janice Leoshko, PhD (The Ohio State University), 1987, teaches in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research has long focused on assumptions about the significance of artistic production at Bodhgaya, the Indian site where the Buddha achieved enlightenment (Sacred Traces: British Explorations of Buddhism in South Asia [Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003]). She also writes about the influence of museums and exhibitions, partly a result of time spent as a curator at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Recent focus on Sri Lankan art has led to her current book project on the significance of the early writings of Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy, which will be published by University of Chicago Press. E-mail: jleoshko@austin.utexas.edu



UVA Harrison Small Auditorium
Charlottesville, VA 22903
Event Type


The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia

Date / Time

Thursday, October 6, 2022
5:00 PM - 6:00 PM