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Meet the Curator: Dr Molly Emma Aitken

Meet the Curator: Dr Molly Emma Aitken

'When Gold Blossoms' Free Public Lecture
Gold cobra-head braid ornament
Gold cobra-head braid ornament (nagar) set with rubies, emeralds, diamonds, and pearls, South India; 18th century, Susan L. Beningson Collection. Photo: Benjamin Harris B.S.K.

India is a land of cultural affluence. Body adornment plays a unique role in Indian art. Historically, men and women have worn jewelry, literally, from head to toe, for its ornamental and symbolic qualities. In the massive Indian subcontinent, art forms and interpretation of aesthetics change and evolve across different regions. Indian art reflects, to a certain extent, diversity in unity within the country.

In South India, the geometric shapes and generous use of gold, rubies, emeralds and diamonds in jewelry making define the regional art style from the rest of the country. How does South Indian jewelry differ from other parts of the country? What are the social, political and religious meanings of jewelry? How do the meanings change in court, literature or temple? What is the significance of these meanings to the owner of the jewelry?

To address these questions, the exhibition curator Dr Molly Emma Aitken (from New York) will give a public lecture, which includes an introduction to the style and symbolism of jewelry in India and a detailed analysis on the ubiquitous role of adornment in Indian culture, to celebrate the first international stop of the exhibition, When Gold Blossoms: Indian Jewelry from the Susan L. Beningson Collection, in Hong Kong. Whether building, court, temple, wedding, body or even poetry, jewelry is widely illustrated in different aspects of our lives. These objects of beauty have inspired Dr Aitken to design this unique exhibition that showcases more than 160 pieces of Indian jewelry. Come join us to explore the themes, the context and the highlights of the exhibition.

Dr Molly Emma Aitken is Assistant Professor of art history at the City University of New York. She graduated from Columbia University with a doctorate degree in art history. Her areas of expertise and research encompass Mughal painting, Rajput court art and South Asian art history. She has published extensively, including award-winning books The Intelligence of Tradition in Rajput Court Painting and When Gold Blossoms: Indian Jewelry from the Susan L. Beningson Collection.
 

Event Details

8 November 2012
6:30pm - 8:00pm

9 Justice Drive, Admiralty, Hong Kong

Free admission; Online registration required