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Spiritual Seekers: Asceticism and Piety in Indian Painting

June 19–December 9, 2001

In India, sages, monks, and ascetics are venerated for their wisdom and piety. The role, environment, and practices of such devout individuals as imagined by Indian painters are the subject of this exhibition of painting and textiles from the museum’s collection. Dating from the mid-fifteenth century to the early twentieth century, the works convey aspects of the search for spiritual realization. Paintings illustrating such texts as the Ramayana and Mahabharata illustrate epic stories about holy men. Others offer delightful, even amusing portrayals of hermits in worldly environments. Still others feature human and divine figures whose faith and austerity exemplify the journey toward higher truths and religious ideals.

Main Building


Darielle Mason, Stella Kramrisch Curator of Indian and Himalayan Art; Dr. Sharon Littlefield, Assistant Curator, Indian and Himalayan Art

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