Frederick Asher's Latest Book Projects
Frederick Asher, Professor Emeritus, is completing a book on the site of the Buddha’s first sermon, Sarnath, the place where, in essence, Buddhism was formed in the 5th century BCE. This book, which examines the visual remains of Sarnath from its foundation through the 12th century and its “rediscovery” as part of a colonialist enterprise, as well as the monasteries recently constructed there by Buddhists from across Asia, will be published as part of the Getty Publications series. As this project concludes, he is turning attention to what he describes as his final book, India and the World: The Visual Culture of Indian Ocean Trade to 1500. It looks at Chinese ceramics found from Southeast Asia to the east coast of Africa, Indian textiles preserved in Egypt and the spread of Buddhism and Hinduism across Southeast and East Asia, asking why, however, these religions made no inroads west of India. And it looks at the ways in which trade enabled kingdoms to prosper while at the same time giving authority to merchants and mariners, not just kings and nobles. A Fulbright Fellowship will support the remaining research for this project.