National Endowment for the Humanities Grant Supports Major Exhibition of Buddhist Ritual Art at Holy Cross

(July 18, 2019)

The College of the Holy Cross, in conjunction with the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery, are pleased to announce that the National Endowment of the Humanities has awarded a $100,000 grant in support of a major exhibition of Buddhist ritual art. “Dharma and Punya: Buddhist Ritual Art of Nepal” will be on view in the campus art gallery throughout the fall semester beginning Thursday, September 5 through December 14.

Spearheaded by co-curators Dr. Todd T. Lewis, distinguished professor of arts and humanities in the Religious Studies Department at the College, and Dr. Jinah Kim, professor of history of art and architecture at Harvard University, the exhibition will be displaying historic objects of Buddhist devotion, on loan from major art institutions and private collectors, and will be accompanied by extensive programming.

The award is the result of an application submitted for consideration to the NEH last summer by the co-curators and the director of the Cantor Art Gallery, Roger Hankins, with assistance from the College’s offices of Sponsored Research and Foundation and Corporate Relations. Dr. Lewis, a specialist in South Asian religions, and Dr. Kim, an art historian who focuses on Asian art, have been developing the exhibition for several years in collaboration with Hankins.

One in eight projects submitted nationally are awarded funding. According to Lewis, “This grant has enabled the College to borrow and display at Holy Cross some of the finest examples of Buddhist ritual art from Nepal from leading museums, including the first display of a monumental banner painting that displays the origin story of the Kathmandu Valley as a Buddhist holy place.”

“The NEH grant has allowed this project to proceed in a way that wouldn’t have been possible without it,” Hankins explains, “The institutional requirements for each of the lenders are substantial as the ritual items being borrowed are historical objects, such as a Vajracharya priest’s crown from the 13th century and rare manuscripts from as early as the 11th century.”

Holy Cross News…