Digital Scholarship at Schaffer Library

Arts of India

Faculty Creator: Sheri Lullo


Visual Arts & Art History

In Collaboration With:

Cole Belmont, Director of the Makerspace

Tools Used:

Sketchfab and Annotations

Mahavira from Arts of India project

This is a Sketchfab model depicting Mahavira, from the Arts of India project.

Project Goals:

I wanted students to engage in a deep visual analysis of one work of art. Instead of the traditional essay, I asked students to annotate (with scholarly citations) selected visual features of their chosen sculptures in order to build compelling and original descriptions and analyses of the works. Most Hindu icons are inherently narrative in nature: they have multiple arms with hands that hold important objects, they are richly adorned with meaningful ornaments, and they are often accompanied by their vahanas (or mounts) or other related deities. I wanted students to recount Hindu religious narratives and values through the visual. They were also encouraged to consider the material properties of the works as well, such as color, medium, size and other features that contribute to our understanding of the work in ritual context.

Why Digital?

We're often examining these sculptures in class through museum-created images on a flat screen. I love that the moveable, 3D model of the work could serve as a constant reminder to students that these are volumetric objects whose purpose is to inspire religious devotion through form and presence. It is the next best thing to seeing them in person! I also think that selecting features for separate annotations was a constructive method to inspire the collection of data and the organization of ideas, so that each annotation stream tells a different story.

Click here to view the project!