Focussing on the practices of consecration, incantation, and the production and transfer of religious merit, this talk situates selected objects in the exhibition What is the Use of Buddhist Art? within their histories and contexts of use. It examines the marks of ritual animation, the modes of vocalization, and the inscription of intentions and aspirations found on paintings, statues, stupas, and steles to reveal the social life of religious icons within Buddhist communities.
D. Max Moerman is Professor and Chair of Asian & Middle Eastern Cultures at Columbia University. He is Co-Chair of the Columbia University Seminar in Buddhist Studies and an Associate Director of the Columbia Center for Buddhism and Asian Religions. His most recent exhibition is What is the Use of Buddhist Art?