Thursday, May 21, 2020
View archived lecture here, available for the duration of the Virtual Lecture Series.
Thai Buddhist magical tattoos called Sak Yant are based on ancient Indic yantras that are considered powerful forms meant to ward off negative influences. These tattoos incorporate elements of Hindu, Animist, and Buddhist traditions. In this way, the ideas behind, and practices of, Sak Yant mirror broader changes in the modern religious context of Thailand. This lecture will provide a basic understanding of the function of Buddhism in Southeast Asia, display the various designs and meanings of Sak Yant, and demonstrate the role Sak Yant tattoos play in contemporary merit making in Thailand.
Angela May is an Art Historian with a specialization in South and Southeast Asian art. Her research explores the hybridization of popular religions in Thailand as reflected in the art form of Sak Yant. She’s also published on Jain Sarasvati sculptures, Indonesian Durga iconography, and Nepalese illuminated manuscripts. She has conducted field work in Nepal, India, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Java, and Bali. Angela is currently the Assistant Curator of Education at the Birmingham Museum of Art where she develops and designs digital educational resources and content for Culture Bridge: eLearning Across Asia, the BMA smartguide and smartlab. When she is not creating resources on Asian art, Angela leads museum trips through South and Southeast Asia. The most recent trip was a five country tour visiting UNESCO World Heritage sites such as Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Bagan in Myanmar.
This talk is part our COVID-19 response lecture series. Since no one can travel, we’re bringing stunning art from worldwide locations to your family at home. These lectures are hosted by experts the world (and US) over, from Australia to New Delhi and Los Angeles to New Jersey. The times are all listed in Pacific Time (PDT) as the university is based in California. The Zoom links will be posted to each webpage the day before the lecture starts, so please note the dates and times in your calendar and check back. Please feel free to direct any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.