Royal Asiatic Society

Member Profile

Prof. Dr. Julia A. B. Hegewald

Professor of Oriental Art History and Head of the Department of Asian and Islamic Art History,

Institute of Oriental and Asian Studies, The University of Bonn, Germany

Julia A. B. Hegewald is Professor of Oriental Art History and Head of the Department of Asian and Islamic Art History at the University of Bonn, Germany. She was Reader in Art History at Manchester (2007–2010), a postdoctoral Fellow at the South Asia Institute in Heidelberg (2005–2007) and a Research Fellow at University College Oxford (1998–2005). She studied at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London, from where she also holds a Ph.D.

How did you first hear of the Society?
I first heard of the Society and attended a number of lectures there while I was a student at SOAS in the early 1990s.

What encouraged you to join?
When I was awarded my PhD at SOAS in 1998, my supervisor, Dr. Giles H.R. Tillotson, who had been a fellow for many years, encouraged me to apply in order to meet more scholars from the field of Asian Studies and to participate in the activities of a learned society focusing on Asia.

What would you say are the benefits of being a fellow of the RAS?
The most important benefit for me is that fellows get invited to an enormous number of high-quality lectures and events, organized by the Society. Since the Corona pandemic, most of the lectures can also be accessed digitally, which is wonderful as it allows members living and researching abroad to participate as well. Additionally, I really appreciate receiving the RAS Journal four times a year and staying up-to-date with current research.

What is your favourite item from the RAS collections?
Besides my interests in South Asian water architecture, city planning and Himalayan arts, I have been working on Jaina art and architecture for many years. For this reason, I am particularly fond of Jambudvipa (RAS 069.001), a cosmological painting on cloth from Western India (ca. 1817), which shows a Jaina religious perception of the world of man.

Jambudvipa, a Jain cosmological representation of the universe
Other title: Adhidvipa | Aḍhāī-dvīpa.

By a Marwar artist (Pandit Tilokacanda Dayacanda?), ca. 1817. A diagram of the earth with central continent Jambudvipa. In Rajasthani and Gujarati. Gouache on cloth, 65.5 x 69.2 cm.
See also