Beyond their inspirational and devotional power, what other functions do religious works of art serve? From antiquity through the medieval period, practitioners of many religious traditions throughout central Asia used works of art to teach followers religious histories, parables, and central tenets of their faith. How does this use inform our appreciation of these works and what can we learn from examining these religious practices?
Zsuzsanna Gulácsi is professor of art history, Asian studies, and comparative religious studies at Northern Arizona University. She has written extensively on art and religion across Asia in the late ancient and medieval periods. Gulácsi was previously a Fellow at the Center in 2006–07 and has returned this year to work on a new project comparing the use of art by various religions in the region to attract and instruct converts.