Compelling intellectual interest, theme, or question:
My research investigates the intersections of art, religion, and society. I explore how people express their ideas concerning self, community, aspirations, religious beliefs, polity, life, and the cosmos at large through visual means.
Provisional sketch of essay:
In pre-modern Asia, Buddhist kingship has provided an alternative model of state ideology. The notion of Buddhist monarchs founding “world empires” was implemented all across Asia, from the Himalayas to Central Asia in the early centuries of the Common Era, followed by East Asia in the middle centuries of the first millennium, and then continued in Southeast Asia and Tibet after the first millennium. In this essay, I explore the propagation and implementation of this Buddhist state ideology in East Asia during the first millennium CE, how it briefly disrupted traditional political ideologies germane to the regions, how it provided an avenue for women to access political power, and how its associated art style transcended political and geographical boundaries to become international.