NIAS Memorial Lecture: “India Abroad: Material Evidence for Premodern Indian Ocean Trade in Malaysia and Thailand” by Dr. Frederick Asher, 5.30 PM

Friday, November 15, 2019

National Institute of Advanced Studies

Indian Institute of Science Campus, Bengaluru-560 012


Dr. Shailesh Nayak, Director and the Faculty at NIAS

Invite you to the






“India Abroad: Material Evidence for Premodern Indian Ocean Trade

in Malaysia and Thailand”


to be delivered by


Dr. Frederick Asher

Professor emeritus of art history, University of Minnesota


Chairperson: Dr. Shailesh Nayak, Director, NIAS 


Date:             Friday, November 15, 2019

Time:            5.30 pm (Coffee/Tea: 5.00 pm) 

Venue:          JRD Tata AuditoriumNIAS, IISc Campus, Bengaluru 560 012


Abstract: The talk examines the adoption of Indian religions – Vaishnavism, Śaivism, Buddhism – in Southeast Asia and the local production of images, remarkable in the absence of an earlier tradition of figural sculpture in Southeast Asia.  With only a handful of sculptures that are likely of Indian origin found in all of Southeast Asia, primarily in the Kedah region of Malaysia and southern Thailand, was that enough to serve as models for local production?  What other sources are possible models? It asks about the role of Indian merchants settled in Southeast Asia and the language – Tamil – they brought but a calendrical system used for both Sanskrit and vernacular inscriptions that is never used in Tamil Nadu.


About the Speaker: Frederick Asher is a specialist in South Asian art with special interests in India’s visual culture in the larger context of the Indian Ocean. His most recent book, on the Buddhist monastery Nalanda, once the most important Buddhist monastery anywhere, was published in 2015.  His book on Sarnath, the site where the Buddha preached his first sermon, is in production with Getty Publications.  Asher has completed a term as Editor-in-Chief of, the electronic journal of the College Art Association, and a term as South Asia editor for Archives of Asian Art.  He held various offices in the American Institute of Indian Studies, including Treasurer, President and Board Chair.  He has also served as President of the National Committee for the History of Art and a member of the Bureau (Executive Committee) of CIHA (Comité International d'Histoire de l'Art).  He received the Morse Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of Minnesota and in 2015, was granted the Distinguished Contributions to Asian Studies Award from the Association for Asian Studies.  His current research examines the visual culture of Indian Ocean trade, extending from the South China Sea to East Africa.

Organised by: 
JRD Tata Auditorium, NIAS, IISc Campus, Bengaluru 560012