28/09/2020 Tantra- enlightenment to revolution exhibition
The British Museum, Great Russell Street London WC1B 3DG. 24 Sep 2020 - 24 Jan 2021
The exhibition includes sculpture, painting, prints and ritual objects from India, Japan, Nepal, Tibet, and the UK, dating from the seventh century AD to the present.
Tantra is a religion based philosophy originating in medieval India. Its ideas and beliefs influenced both Hinduism and Buddhism.
Tantra taught that everything is sacred, including in it’s rituals behaviour that ran counter to existing social and religious restrictions – for example, there were sexual rites and the use of things traditionally considered as unclean and irreligious, such as drink, drugs and human remains.
The Tantric view was that divine feminine power imbues all material reality. Tantric goddesses were not passive and docile but powerful and erotic, destructive and maternal.
When Tantra reached the West. as in other religious beliefs, people took from it what they wanted.
For the sensual Tantra meant more and better bedroom frolics, for feminists it signified female emancipation, for the spiritually minded a way to enlightenment.
For the artist they are intriguing works of art.
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Image 1 Painting of the goddess Narodakini, Tibet, 1700–1900
Image 2 The god Bhairava. Lord of the Demonic Dead
Image 3 Ramprasad Sen and the goddess Kali, signed P. Chakraborty, Bengal, India, 20th century,
Image 4 The goddess Kali as a symbol of India, here advertising Kali cigarettes.
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