Naman Ahuja. Ancient Silver Mask in the al-Sabah Collection


Naman Ahuja is a Professor and Dean of the School of Arts & Aesthetics at JNU. He is also the General Editor of Marg Publications which is India’s oldest publishing house dedicated to art and culture. He has curated some of the most important exhibitions of Indian art in the past ten years, including: The Body in Indian Art & Thought which was shown at the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels and the National Museum in Delhi in 2013; and India & The World, in which 120 objects from the British Museum were staged in strategic dialogue with Indian objects at the CSMVS in Mumbai and the National Museum, Delhi. Over more than 30 published books and research papers, some of which have been widely translated, his scholarship has deepened our understanding of Indian art from the perspectives of  visual culture, aesthetics, iconography and transculturalism.


Ancient Silver Mask in the al-Sabah Collection

The mask of Shiva preserved in The al-Sabah Collection, Kuwait is remarkable for several reasons, the first of which is its startling appearance, the fact that it is made out of a precious material like silver, and because it is life size. What could this object have been used for, and what other objects can it be related to? Although its presence has been acknowledged, little is known about the specific nature of Shaivism in the extended Gandhara region of Pakistan and Afghanistan in the 5th to 7th centuries, the period and region from which this object comes. Comparative studies indicate that its patrons might have been from the period of the later Alchon Huns, rather than the Hindushahis or Turkoshahis. This lecture draws attention to the significance of sites near Waziristan, Bannu and Ghazni to argue that the imagery is not without precedent and can be situated within wider “post-Gupta” and “late Sassanian” contexts.


Jan 30 2023


19:00 - 20:00


Yarmouk Cultural Centre
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