Using our imaginations when looking at art can activate prior knowledge and spark curiosity. Ask students to recall their VMFA Distance Learning visit and try the following:
With a partner or in groups, consider this image of Shiva. Use the following starters to think of some imaginative and interesting questions about this artwork. Try to formulate a list of at least 6 interesting questions.
Share and exchange your questions with other groups in the class. What is the class most curious about? What is missing from your knowledge base? Can you use your list of questions to establish some search terms to help you find out more?
Looking closely at art helps us think historically and connect to cultures from the past.
During your Distance Learning visit, students practiced looking carefully to interpret what art can reveal about religious beliefs that developed in India. From their classroom studies, they may know that Buddhism spread throughout South and East Asia via missionaries and trade.
Below are several examples of Buddhist art from across Asia, including an Indian example. Ask students to look carefully at these examples to build on their ideas about Buddhism. How would they compare Buddhist art from India with that of the cultures who subsequently adopted the religion? Use the Looking to Learn: I See / I Think / I Wonder strategy to help frame student inquiry.
Thinking about our experience with art helps us connect to people and ideas across time and place. Use these prompts to help students reflect on their engagement with Indian Buddhist and Hindu art.