Count Your Blessings: Prayer Beads in Asian Cultures

Study Groups
Photo courtesy of Annie Dorsey.

Count Your Blessings: Prayer Beads in Asian Cultures

Annie Dorsey
April 13, 2024
11:00 a.m.1:30 p.m.
Koret Education Center, Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin Street, San Francisco
$30 per person Society members; $40 per person non-members after museum admission.

Please join us for a deep dive into the history and spiritual significance of prayer beads in Asian cultures. Annie Dorsey, a member of the SAA since 1986, began studying and collecting prayer beads from all over Asia in the early 1990s. Her focus was originally Buddhism, but it quickly expanded to include Hinduism, Islam, lesser-known religions such as Jainism, Sikhism, and Bahá'i, and later, also Chrisitanity. She built the first ever comprehensive collection of Buddhist prayer beads, which she donated to the Rubin Museum of Art (RMA) in New York City in 2013. RMA showcased the collection in a 10-month exhibition called Count Your Blessings: The Art of Prayer Beads in Asia.

Annie will share with us a selection of beads still in her collection; insights about early religious history gleaned from her research; and vivid examples of the ways different cultures developed unique and consciousness-altering forms of practice around prayer beads. She wil also discuss with us about the collecting bug and hot it bit her, always an interesting subject!

Annie Dorsey


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.