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Hindu Myths in the Art of South and Southeast Asia


Admission requirements

Successful completion of (preferably) 5481K2IHI Introduction to Hinduism or 5481V1PGZ Premodern Histories of SSEA or 5481VS112 Classical Cultures of SSEA: Seminar I. Please, contact the Coordinator of Studies or Mw. Dr. M.J. Klokke, if you are interested in taking this course, but do NOT fulfill the above mentioned requirement.


This course focuses on the representation of Hindu myths and epics in the art of South and Southeast Asia. Special attention goes to text-image relationships, to the careful selection of episodes leading to new visual versions of ‘the text’ with new emphases, to the way in which art historical and culture-historical contexts play a role in the construction of meaning, and to the domestic, religious, and political use of Hindu myths and epics. Examples will in particular include reliefs and paintings on Hindu temples of India, Indonesia and Cambodia. Themes to be discussed include: the churning of the ocean by the gods; the banishment of Rama and his faithful wife Sita, the adventures of Krsna, and the meditation of Arjuna.

Course objectives

  • Advanced knowledge of the art and material culture of South and Southeast Asia.

  • Insight in the function of art in its art historical and cultural context.

  • Insight in the art historical discipline as applied to South and Southeast Asian art.

  • Academic skills to present a visual analysis, both orally and in written form.



Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Attendance and participation are obligatory. Classes missed for a good reason (to the discretion of the conveners and to be discussed BEFORE the class takes place) will have to be made up with an extra assignment. Being absent without notification can result in a lower grade or exclusion from the term end exams and a failing grade for the course.

Course Load

5 EC(=140 hs)

  • Course: 12 × 2 h = 24h

  • Readings: 10 × 4h = 40h

  • Oral presentation: 8h

  • Take home exam: 24h

  • Essay: 44h

Assessment method


  • Oral presentation (op)

  • Take home examination (wth) after block 3

  • Essay (2000 words) (wp) at the end of the course


  • Oral presentation (op): 20%

  • Take home examination (wth) after block 3: 30%

  • Essay (2000 words) (wp) at the end of the course: 50%

In order to pass the course, students must obtain an overall mark of 5.45 (=6) or higher.

The course is an integrated whole. The final examination and the assignments must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years.


Exam Review



Reading list

To be announced at the beginning of the course.


Students of the BA program South and Southeast Asia Studies are required to register through uSis before August/January 15. To avoid mistakes and problems, students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetable in the column under the heading “Act.nbr.”.

Other students are requested to send an email to the study co-ordinator including their name, student ID number, course title and prospectus or catalog number. Depending on the availability of places, the study co-ordinator will register these students after August/January 15. By September/February 1 at the latest the student will be able to see in uSis whether (s)he is registered or not.

Not being registered, means no permission to attend this course. See also the ‘Registration procedures for classes and examinations’ for registration deadlines and more information on how to register.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs


(Studeren à la carte is not possible for this course)


Prof. dr. M.J. Klokke


Students with disabilities

The university is committed to supporting and accommodating students with disabilities as stated in the university protocol (especially pages 3-5). Students should contact Fenestra Disability Centre at least four weeks before the start of their courses to ensure that all necessary academic accommodations can be made in time conform the abovementioned protocol.

Academic Integrity

Students are expected to be familiar with Leiden University policies on plagiarism and academic integrity. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. If you submit any work with your name affixed to it, it is assumed to be your own work with all sources used properly indicated and documented in the text (with quotations and/or citations).