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Area Studies

East Asia Programme

Central Asian Programme

South-East Asia Programme

Area Studies comprises research projects on Eurasia, East Asia, and South-East Asia. These programmes are designed to create resources for advanced research in the culture, art and history of these regions and also sponsor research leading to publication.

Eurasian Studies programme is still at a nebulous stage though it has started a wide range of expanding research programmes and projects, some of which are already completed or nearing completion. The programme aims at covering Mongolia, Central and West Asia, Iran, Turkey, and certain surrounding regions extending up to the Arab and Turkish world. A common current of thought process seems to reverberate all over and the thrust is determined not so much by the geographical boundaries or proximities as much as by the intensity of mutual contacts, close relations and common cultural heritage, and brisk exchanges of ideas, men and commodities through the ages. The area is defined through extensive possibilities of relevant research.

Beginning with an international seminar Cities, Roads and Caravan Sarais- An Emblem of Relations through the Ages - India, Central Asia and Turkey held at IGNCA in 2008, along with an exhibition (prepared with the gifted material by the five Central Asian States) the IGNCA decided upon a well thought out 14-point programme which was and is being followed. Being an art and culture studies Centre, the IGNCA is set upon building a vast collection of artefacts, ethnic objects, visual and performing arts resources, acquisition of valuable paintings, pieces of rarities, the works done and the translation of the material produced on each others’ countries, organising bilateral seminars, joint Buddhist studies, the Indian Diaspora in Central Asian states, the impact of Indian culture, the traces of which are too apparent and the vice versa. With this view, four international seminars (Indo-Iranian, with a week long cultural programme; Indo Mongolian; Indo-West Asian and Indo-Turkish International Seminars) are scheduled for the year 2010. The publication programme, both in house and outside its purview, is also continuing. The proceedings of the above seminar are being edited. The first in the series of already published works is on the exchanges in the sphere of architecture. One book of Indo-Turkish Architecture is only recently published. Another work Architecture-A symbol of Cultural Cohesion-A Pictorial Survey and the other The Mongol Rule in Central Asia 13th - 14th Centuries are both ready for press and may be released at the time of the seminar. Several projects are going to be launched with Central and West Asia. One MoU has been signed in June 2008 with Kyrgyzstan Archaeological Academy and plans for joint studies of Buddhist sites are being considered. The MoU signed with Iran Culture House, New Delhi in February 2009 was followed by the proposal for an MoU from Tehran National Academy of Arts, Iran. An Indo-Kazakhstan Cultural Forum too is being opened for collaborative researches and Indo-Turcology studies programme with Kokshetau University, Kazakhstan are in the pipeline. An Indo-Turkish major research programme on architecture and fine arts is also in the process. The plans to prepare cultural corners of each country in the Art Gallery are also being pursued. Many more plans are being made to extend the areas of researches. The Eurasian Area Studies programme is also exploring the possibility of joint projects with certain Arabian and African universities, with the former in the sphere of medicine, astronomy, music and cultural contacts and the latter focussing on researches on African Diaspora in India and their active political role in Indian states through the ages. Besides, the idea of an Indo-Portuguese project is also in the offing. These joint academic ventures are being planned to be pursues in a big way with these countries.

East Asia Studies programme has been collaborating between India and the world with a view to commemorate our close historical and cultural relation since 1998. The unit has been successfully implementing cultural and historical exchanges in the sphere of architecture with many academic institutions in China including Dunhuang Academy, Peking University, Kucha Research Institute, Institute of Longman Caves, Taiyuan Normal University, Chinese Academy of Arts, Institute of Archaeology and in Korean Foundation, Korea and International Dunhuang Project, London as well. The main focus is on Buddhist art, especially in China and other part of the globe. The EAP unit has organized many seminars and exhibitions on the relations between India and China. Cave Art of India and China (1991), India and China looking at each other (1995), The Recent Archaeological Discoveries in Xinjiang (1996) and Documentation of Central Asian Antiquities (2000), Art Relics of Afganistan (2001), Xuanzang and Silk Route (2003), Mudra (2003), and History of The Central Asian Collections in Institutions Worldwide (2008) are some of the seminars held under the programme. It has brought out many publications such as Dunhuang Art: Through the eyes of Duan Wenjie, In the Footsteps of Xuanzang:Tan yun-shan and India, Xuanzang and Silk Route so far and has taken the initiative to further cultural exchange programmes by signing an MoU with the Xinjiang Kucha Caves Research Institute at Kizil Caves, Xinjiang, Chin.   

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South-East Asian Study deals with India’s classical cultural relations with Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia and Myanmar. A core collection of research materials (books, microfiches, microfilms, slides and other) have been built up on these countries for IGNCA’s reference library. Besides, the programme is responsible for exchange of research materials and scholars. Recently, the art styles of various ancient temples of the Bali (Indonesia) have been documented. Additionally, the programme also focuses on the study of the classical art and culture of these regions of Asia devoting considerable attention to Buddhism and its other sister sects and conducting studies on the classical literature based on Indian epics: the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Periodical organization of the Conferences, Seminars, exhibitions and scholarly discussion in the shape of lecture has also been a focus area.

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