IIAS Masterclass: Jan Fontein
Jan Fontein, born in the Netherlands, studied Far Eastern languages and Southeast Asian
archaeology at Leiden University.
In 1966 he received his PhD degree, submitting a
dissertation entitled The Pilgrimage of Sudhana, A Study of Gandavy■ha illustrations
in China, japan, and Java (The Hague: Mouton & Co., 1966).
After ten years
as a curator at the Museum of Asiatic Art in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam he moved to the
United States, where he was curator and later director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
There, he organized such exhibitions as Zen Painting and Calligraphy (1970) and
Unearthing China's Past (1972)., After his retirement as director in 1987, he
organized the exhibitions The Sculpture of Indonesia (1990) for the National
Gallery in Washington, D.C. and China's Distant Past (1994) and Buddha
Images from the Kingdom of Siam (1995) for the Foundation Nieuwe Kerk in
He is a correspondent of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences,
holds honourary degrees of Boston University, Northeastern University, and Simmons
College in Boston and was made Commander in the Order of the Sacred Treasure in Japan.
He has taught at Harvard University, at the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University,
and at the University of Heidelberg, Germany.
Among his life-long interests, on which he has published a number of scholarly articles, is
the topic of the masterclas he is offering in the end of August 1996: Narrative Sculpture
and Literary Traditions in Central, South, and Southeast Asia. Invited to apply are
doctoral students and recent recipients of the doctorate in fields related to Central, South and
Southeast Asian art and archaeology, who would like to study the relationship between texts,
oral traditions and the virtual representation of Indian epics, Buddhist
sutras, jataka tales or animal fables in Central Asia, India, Cambodia,
Thailand or Indonesia.
Applications are due by 1 May 1996 and should include a cv and a paper on the