Arts of Asia Spring 2022 Gifts of Rivers and Resources: Art and Power in Ancient Asia

Arts of Asia Lecture Series
Ritual vessel (he) with lid. China, Warring States period (approx. 475-221 BCE). Bronze. Asian Art Museum. The Avery Brundage Collection, B60B907. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

Arts of Asia Spring 2022 Gifts of Rivers and Resources: Art and Power in Ancient Asia

Sanjyot Mehendale
Repeats every week until Fri May 06 2022 except Fri Apr 15 2022.
January 28, 2022 to May 6, 2022
Fridays, January 28 to May 6, 10:30 am to 12:30 pm Pacific Time (No lecture on April 15.)
Samsung Hall, Asian Art Museum & Zoom Webinars
$200 per person Society members and $250 per person non-members for the series. Advance registration must be received by the SAA by Jan. 21, 2022. We will only accept drop ins for individual lectures in Samsung Hall on a space available basis. Drop in fee is $25 per person per lecture.

Society for Asian Art and Asian Art Museum are separate non-profit organizations with separate memberships. Please use the appropriate registration buttons to register for Society programs.

The artistic productions of a society are a function of the society's geography, climate, environmental conditions, natural resources, technology, trade, and culture. This series examines the foundations of Asian artistic traditions with attention to how their natural environments shaped the cultures. It is no accident that complex cultures first arose on rivers, near fertile croplands, close to deposits of valuable minerals, or at nodes of trade routes. Join us for a journey across ancient Asia to see how the formative traditions arose from their natural settings. This series will explore the ancient societies that arose along the great river systems of the Indus, Tigris and Euphrates, Oxus, Yellow River, Yangtze, Ganges, and Mekong, and survey the earliest complex cultures of Mesopotamia, Iran, Central Asia, India, the Himalayas, China, Southeast Asia, Korea, and Japan.

Speakers & Topics (Subject to Change)

January 28, 2022
The Indus Tradition of Ancient South Asia: New Perspectives on Crafts, Trade, Ideology and Power
J. Mark Kenoyer, George F. Dales Jr. and Barbara A. Dales Professor of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

February 4, 2022
Climate, Environment, and the Development of Complex Societies in the Ancient Near East
Hervé Reculeau, Associate Professor of Assyriology, Oriental Institute, The University of Chicago

February 11, 2022
The Yellow River: A Natural and Unnatural History
Ruth Mostern, Professor and World History Center Director, University of Pittsburgh

February 18, 2022
Goddess, Serpent and River: The Ganges in South Asian Art and History
Robert D. DeCaroli, Professor and Director of the MA Program, Department of History and Art History, George Mason University

February 25, 2022
Southern Bronzes and the Creation of Ritual Landscape in Early China
Li Min, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles

March 4, 2022
The Ancestors of Angkor: Early Civilizations in Mainland Southeast Asia
Alison Carter, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Oregon

March 11, 2022
China First Unifies: Art of the Qin and Han Periods
Jun Hu, Mr. and Mrs. Pai Ruchu Presidential Professor in the Arts and Humanities, University of California, Berkeley

March 18, 2022 
Regimes of Mobilities: Culture, Economy and the Early Central Asian Powers
Bryan K. Miller, Lecturer, Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, University of Michigan

March 25, 2022
Motif and Material Culture: Trans-Himalayan Connections as Viewed from Upper Mustang, Nepal
Mark Aldenderfer, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, University of California, Merced

April 1, 2022
Ancient Empires and Art of South Asia Beyond the Ganges
Jinah Kim, George P. Bickford Professor of Indian and South Asian Art, Harvard University

April 8, 2022
The Role of Space and Geography in the Formation of Early Korean States
Mark E. Byington, Research Associate, Department of Anthropology, Harvard University

April 22, 2022
Japanese Material Culture, Ecology and Landscape Practice from the Prehistoric Jomon to the Early Historic Period
Junko Habu, Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley

April 29, 2022
The Landscapes and Materiality of Power in Persia and the Ancient Iranian World
Matthew Canepa, Professor and Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Presidential Chair in Art History and Archaeology of Ancient Iran, University of California, Irvine

May 6, 2022
All Greek to Us: The Kushans and “Hellenism”
Sanjyot Mehendale, Chair, Tang Center for Silk Road Studies, University of California, Berkeley


The 14 lectures are available to attend as 14 separate webinars. If you choose not to attend in person, a Zoom confirmation email with information on how to join the webinar will be sent to all registered attendees 2 or 3 days before each lecture. Even though it is not required by Zoom, we recommend that you download and install Zoom on your computer or mobile device in advance, and set yourself up with a free account. Attendees will have a chance to participate in the Q&A with a text chat function. Read Arts of Asia Webinar FAQs.


Registration Policies

The Society for Asian Art's cancellation policy requires at least one week's advance written notice in order to receive a refund of registration fees. This excludes our Travel programs, which have separate cancellation policies, as well as any programs where a specific refund policy is stated on the event page. Your fees will be returned to you through a check in the mail. To cancel, please contact us.

For programs located within the Asian Art Museum, the museum entrance fee must be paid separately and is not included with your registration fee.

Please note that by registering for a program, you are giving consent to the SAA to be photographed or videoed as a participant.