Asian Arts

Introduce

The Indian and Southeast Asia gallery encompasses art and artifacts from South Asia (Republic of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka) and Southeast Asia (Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, the Philippines, and other islands surrounding the Indochina Peninsula).

The Indian subcontinent is bordered to the north by rugged mountains, including the world’s highest mountain range, the Himalayas, with the remaining sides surrounded by the Indian Ocean. The northwest region, centering on the Indus River, has managed to maintain its indigenous culture despite repeated foreign invasions and persistent attempts to introduce foreign cultures. The fertile Ganges River basin nurtured the birth and flourishing development of India’s key religions, including Brahmanism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism. The West Indian region, around the Deccan Plateau, has long prospered as a hub of ocean trade, while southern India was the center of Dravidian culture.

Southeast Asia has generated a unique culture by maintaining native traditions while selectively accepting influences from China. Since ancient times, the region has enjoyed dynamic exchange with the Indian subcontinent that has affected their religious, linguistic, political, and social systems. However, around the 10th century, the influence of India and China waned, allowing regional cultural characteristics to come to the fore. The Khmer Kingdom of Cambodia and Shailendra of Indonesia exemplify the region’s political and economic prosperity and highly developed culture.

Main Collection

Gray Schist Figure of a Bodhisattva
Mithuna Figure
Stele of Manjusri Bodhisattva
Ganesha