Written by Frederick M. Asher

rick_asher-120x120WALTER SPINK IS, of course, best known for his work on Ajanta. He's recently referred to himself as obsessed by Ajanta, something that those who know him will agree is not far from the mark. But Walter's impact on our field extends far beyond Ajanta, to something that too few know.

BACK in the 1960s, the American Committee for South Asian Art (ACSAA), was just that: a committee. Its responsibility was policy advice for what was then the American Academy of Banaras, a visionary establishment that sought to bring South Asia what our colleagues working the Mediterranean had in the American Academy of Rome, the American Schools of Classical Studies, and the American Schools of Oriental Research. In large measure it achieved that goal, though now as part of the American Institute of Indian Studies. That transfer to AIIS left ACSAA an organization without a purpose.

acssa-colorSlideProject-400It so happened, however, that Walter was president of ACSAA at the time, and it's hard to imagine Walter sitting by and allowing the organization to remain without direction. Under his leadership, then, ACSAA became a membership organization, the professional association of our field. Its newsletter, biennial meetings and symposia, and even its expanded perspective as represented in its new name (American Council for Southern Asian Art) all may be traced to Walter's leadership. ACSAA thrives today because of Walter's vision, and we, his beneficiaries, are much indebted to him.

Tribute Authors

Frederick M. Asher

Frederick M. Asher :: In Praise of Walterji

Frederick Asher is a specialist in South Asian art. His current research considers the architecture of contested religious space and the issue of copying/originality in Indian art.

Richard Edwards

Richard Edwards :: Colleague at Michigan

Michigan - History of Art | Professor of Far Eastern Art, 1960 | Professor Emeritus, 1987

Michael W. Meister

Michael W. Meister :: Spink On Wheels

W. Norman Brown Professor of South Asia Studies. He is a specialist in the art of India and Pakistan. He has served as Chair of the Departments of South Asia Studies (SASt) and History of Art and as Director of Penn's South Asia Center.

Janice Leoshko

Janice Leoshko :: The Importance of Questions

Prior to joining the faculty in 1993 at The University, Associate Professor Leoshko worked at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art for seven years as the Associate Curator of Indian and Southeast Asian Art

Susan L. Huntington

Susan L. Huntington :: Homage to a Modern Cave Man

Susan L. Huntington, Ph.D., is Distinguished University Professor and Professor of History of Art, Emerita, but continues to teach and advise graduate students at The Ohio State University. 

Donald M. Stadtner

Donald M. Stadtner :: The Cow Herder Goes to Washington

for many years an Associate Professor at the University of Texas, Austin, after completing his PhD at the University of California, Berkeley. His publications include Ancient Pagan: Buddhist Plain of Merit (2005) and Sacred Sites of Burma (forthcoming).