SYMPOSIUM: SPIRITS IN ASIAN POPULAR RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS
Talk / Lecture
]10:00 — 4:30 PM October 28
Spirits and spirit mediums are central within the practices and rich visual cultures of many Asian religious traditions. With the use of paintings, costumes, musical instruments, and other elaborately detailed objects, priests and shamans manifest spirits that influence and guide human fortune. This one-day symposium gathers national and international experts to examine multiple traditions from Vietnam, Korea, Laos, India, China, and Myanmar, as well as the ways contemporary cultures and diasporic movements are transforming and sustaining spirit practices.
Presented in conjunction with the exhibition How to Make the Universe Right: The Art of Priests and Shamans from Vietnam and Southern China, at the Fowler Museum from July 30, 2017 – January 7, 2018.
All works on view are part of the Barry and Jill Kitnick Collection generously donated to the Fowler Museum in 2015.
The symposium is co-sponsored by the UCLA Confucius Institute.
Symposium Schedule | Click here to view as PDF
Welcome and Introduction Terri Geis, Fowler Museum Director of Education and Interpretation
Yao Shaman Priest Robes: Symbols of Mysterious Powers, Cosmic Order and Traditional Values
Trian Nguyen, Associate Professor of Art & Visual Culture, Bates College, Maine
In the Country of Gods, Demons, and Heroes: Documenting Theyyam Rituals in Kerala, India
Neelima Jeychandran, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Africana Research Center, Pennsylvania State University
Dongba Ritual and Art in Southwest China
Charles McKhann, Professor of Anthropology, Whitman College, Washington
11:45–12:00pm Q&A with speakers
12:00–1:30pm Lunch break
1:30–2:00pm Things Fall Apart: Temple Statues, Shaman Paintings, and the Problem of Decay
Laurel Kendall, Chair of Anthropology Division and Curator of Asian Ethnographic Collections, American Museum of Natural History, New York
Vietnamese Spirits in Exile: Worshipping the Mother Goddess and the Left Eye of God in Southern California
Janet Hoskins, Professor of Anthropology and Religion, University of Southern California
Splendour and Sacrifice: Documenting Taoism in Northern Laos
Tara Gujadhur, Co-Director, Traditional Arts and Ethnology Center, Laos
Q&A with speakers
Reception in Fowler Museum Art Council Amphitheatre
About the Exhibition
How to Make the Universe Right (July 30, 2017–January 7, 2018) presents a large selection of rare religious scrolls, ceremonial clothing, and ritual objects of the Yao, Tày, Sán Dìu, Cao Lan, Sán Chay, Nùng, and other populations of northern Vietnam and southern China. Each group has their own traditions of educating and initiating priests and shamans, who serve as intermediaries between the physical and spiritual worlds and between the community and deities, in order to make the universe right through healing, balancing the forces of nature, and communicating with ancestors.
Parking available in UCLA Lot 4, 221 Westwood Plaza, directly off Sunset Blvd | $12/day
Fowler Museum at UCLA, 221 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles