SOAS University of London

History of Art and Archaeology

Forms of Enlightenment: The Art and Architecture of Buddhist South Asia

An Online Specialist Art Short Course

6th May - 1st July 2022

Fees: £500


To book your place, please click here.

Join an international group of senior scholars and curators for an exploration of the Buddhist art and architecture of South Asia, illuminating this rich and multi-faceted artistic tradition though a series of detailed case studies of key sites and sculptures. These leading specialists will drop pins on the map and zoom in on different points in South Asian Buddhist history, sharing their in-depth research into sculptures, stupa sites, cave temples and monasteries from a wide range of time periods and regions. The case studies will introduce you to broader themes in the study of Buddhist art and architecture, with topics including Buddhist relics, reliquaries, and the stupa; pilgrimage and sacred landscape; Buddhist iconography; and the expanding Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhist pantheons. Together they offer the latest insights into one of the world’s most important religious traditions.

Dr Eric Huntington (Rice University) will provide you with an accessible and engaging introduction to Buddhism in South Asia. Dr Abhishek Amar (Hamilton College) will talk about his work on Bodhgaya, Bihar, the site of the Buddha’s enlightenment; Dr Jason Hawkes (University of Cambridge) will discuss the art and archaeology of Bharhut Stupa, Madhya Pradesh; Dr Jessie Pons (Ruhr University Bochum) will examine a Gandharan relief from Zar-dheri in Pakistan; Professor Monika Zin (Leipzig University) will explore relief carvings from stupa sites in Andhra; Professor Pia Brancaccio (Drexel University) will present on Buddhist caves at Aurangabad; and Dr Christian Luczanits (SOAS) will analyse the art and architecture of the Tabo Monastery in Himachal Pradesh. The course concludes with a round-table discussion on the ‘Digitization of Gandharan Artefacts Project’ chaired by course convenor Dr Fiona Buckee (Cardiff University). This panel will showcase the work of a team including Dr Jessie Pons and Dr Abdul Samad (Director of Archaeology and Museums, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), with Dr Nick Barnard (V&A) as a respondent to their discussion on the digitization and cataloguing of about 2000 Gandharan sculptures from sites around the modern cities of Chakdara and Saidu Sharif in Pakistan.

The course is convened by Dr Fiona Buckee (Cardiff University).


The course runs virtually via Zoom over eight weeks, with one lecture every Friday between 13.30 and 15.00 (UK time).

To see the full schedule, please click here.

To book your place, please click here.


Phone: (0)20 7898 4445