Events and Activities



AIA TALKS: King's Handkerchief and Angkor Wat

Dr. Robert Brown LA County Museum & UCLA will talk on “The King’s Handkerchief: Royal Power at Angkor Wat in Cambodia” on Mar 27, 2008 (Thurs) at 7:30 PM in Shelby Hall, Room 107.

After graduation from the University of New Mexico, Dr. Brown joined the Peace Corps and worked as an English teacher in Thailand from 1966-1968, which furthered his interest in the cultures of Southeast Asia. His two years in the Peace Corps were in turn followed by three years of service in the US Army. After teaching English as a Second Language in the Los Angeles County School system, Professor Brown began his formal study of Southeast Asia art, earning his MA and PhD from UCLA in Indian Art History. Currently, he is both a Full Professor at UCLA and the Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Dr. Brown has received numerous grants, including a Donner Foundation Grant, a Pacific Rim Grant, and a Carpenter Foundation Grant. He is author of The Dvaravati Wheels of the Law and the Indianization of South East Asia and editor of Ganesh: Studies of an Asian God, Living a Life in Accord with Dhamma, Art from Thailand, and The Roots of Tantra.

Dr. Brown's talk on "The King's Handkerchief: Royal Power at Angkor Wat in Cambodia" will describe two stone relief portraits of King Suryavarman II among the stone relief carvings at Angkor Wat. Suryavarman built Angkor Wat in the 12th century, in part as a heaven on earth. Portraits are almost non-existent inSoutheast Asian art before those at Angkor Wat. One shows the King holding two unusual and unique objects. The talk attempts to identify the objects and relate them to his power as king and to the symbolism of the monument.

The next day, Dr. Brown will lecture on “Royal Burials and Buddha Relics” Mar 28, 2008 (Friday) 12:30 PM Shelby, Room 109. Several royal burials were excavated by the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1970s. The contents of these burials, located at Tilya Tepe, are used to argue that the use of relic deposits in Buddhist stupas in Ghandhara, an area that today includes parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan, are related to kingly burials. That is, the relics carry as much a royal meaning as a Buddhist one.