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A new philosophy emerged in India from about 500AD, defined in Tantras, religious dialogues written down in Sanskrit, some of the oldest copies of which are in the British Museum… British Museum, LondonEmbraced by the 60s counterculture including the Rolling Stones, the ancient spiritual philosophy of Tantra finds enlightenment not just in sex but death On a stone relief from 11th-century India, a moustached man is enthusiastically pleasuring his lover. Rawson, Philip 1973a. 1982. As a worldview, philosophy and set of practices, Tantra is as alive as ever. It is the very first time the British Museum – which houses one of the biggest and most comprehensive collections of Tantric material in the world – will explore this subject in an exhibition. 1973. ‘Housewives with steak knives’ by Sutapa Biswas is an astonishing image from Bradford of a multi armed young Indian woman on the warpath with white haired head dangling from one hand, steak knife brandished aloft, and intriguingly in another hand a postcard sized image that turns out   to be by Artemisia Gentileschi who famously showed graphic violence to men, having herself suffered at their hands. Explore the radical force that transformed the religious, cultural and political landscape of India and beyond in this landmark exhibition. Support tQ's work by becoming a subscriber and enjoy the benefits of bonus essays, podcasts and exclusively-commissioned new music. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Tantra’s triumphant feminine power at the British Museum The influential Indian spiritual tradition is celebrated in an exhibition touching on life, sex and death She’s upside down, legs in the air, so he can devote himself to tonguing her […] Male compassion and female wisdom need to mingle. ... About halfway round the British Museum’s new exhibition is an object that makes me feel very weedy indeed. The women delight in the gimmick, giggling while struggling to pronounce ‘yoni puja’ (it’s not particularly non-phonetic). The exhibition showcases over 100 objects including masterpieces of sculptures, paintings, prints and ritual objects, depicting the history and evolution of tantric philosophy since AD 500 -- when it emerged in India for the first time. The tradition of Tantra, as we learn from a newly opened exhibition at the British Museum (until 24 January 2021), has always been transgressive. This is the kind of exhibition the BM can do almost entirely from its own collections and those of     the British Library, but there are some exciting loans here also. Emeryville, CA: Ten Speed Press. © Sutapa Biswas. A glance at Amazon confirms that a full spectrum of books on Tantra is readily available today, from the French poet Franck Andre Jamme’s Tantra Song – Tantric Painting from Rajasthan 2011to books such as Barbara Carrellas, Urban Tantra: Sacred Sex for the Twenty-First Century 2017. British Museum announces new tantra exhibition after five years of research and insists it will be about more than yoga and marathon seven-hour sex sessions Tantra exhibition at the British Museum focuses on themes including well-being It explores female power, gender fluidity, religious pluralism and mindfulness Tantra: Enlightenment To Revolution opens after 5 years of […] The philosophy then spread throughout Asia by both diplomatic means and pilgrimage, as travellers returned from its eastern Indian epicentre bearing material objects – sculptures, texts, devotional items – that facilitated ideological dissemination, as Tantric schools appeared in China, Tibet, and Japan. Venice, Italy 409 contributions 180 helpful votes. You need to pre book a ticket-easy as website works smoothly Take care to arrive at the allocated time- then entry is smooth and easy. A Tantra exhibition is set to open at the British Museum and promises to 'be about more than just sex and yoga.' Tantra exhibition review: An enjoyable journey on the road to enlightenment ... New British Museum exhibition to show Tantra is about more than sex. But can Tantra actually offer its uninformed Western spectant a weapon for praxis, or is it just playing into neo-imperial allure of the exotic? Amy Butterworth illustrates the commonly misinterpreted term, Tantra and the framework in which its exhibition was developed Upon my first delving into the Tantra movement, following the announcement by the British Museum on their exhibition showcasing the ancient philosophy, I couldn’t help but think: why is everyone talking about Sting? You can see the appeal. Rachel Campbell ... cultural and political establishments that this exhibition charts. The aesthetics of Tantra mirror this celebration of the flesh. In between we are taken by the hand and led through a potentially overwhelming thicket of ideas practice and imagery; and we glimpse the spread of Tantra across Asia in Tibet and Japan. It wasn't safe and we left as it was impossible to manage safe distancing. ‘Tantra: enlightenment to revolution’ exhibition at the British Museum until 24 January 2021 ‘Before you drink from a skull’ said Manisha Ma Bhairavi, ‘you must first find the right corpse.’ That is the arresting start of William Dalrymple’s account of Tantra in his ‘Nine Lives: In search of the sacred in modern India.’ [Dalrymple 2009]… Instead, it asserts that women embody Shakti, the energy that comprises the entire universe. Tantra is not independent of Hinduism and Buddhism but has pervaded and transformed both traditions from its inception. Tantra first arose around 500 AD, and its core assertion is that the material world is infused with divine feminine power. Catskill, NY: Siglio Press. The British Museum 4 Sep 2020–24 Jan 2021. Chakrasamvara (Wheel of Bliss) Tantra, India, AD 700–800 . Tantra: enlightenment to revolution, a new exhibition at the British Museum that runs through 24 January 2021, attempts to add nuance and context to Tantra’s Western interpretation through an impressive array of aesthetic and devotional objects spanning over a millennia. This is the British Museum’s first new show since reopening, and it never ceases to startle. The book is dedicated aptly to The Unconsoled. ‘Yoni,’ a Sanskrit word, roughly translates as vulva, and ‘puja’ as worship. Tantra’s triumphant feminine power at the British Museum The influential Indian spiritual tradition is celebrated in an exhibition touching on life, sex and death 2020. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Buy. A British artist of Balinese descent, Sinta Tantra was born in New York in 1979. Tickets cost £15 and booking ahead is recommended. But the exhibition features clearly appropriative paintings by artists like Penny Slinger, who had no actual training in the divine philosophy of Tantra and were interested solely in its transgressive aesthetics, the provocative sensuality it exudes. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. ‘Before you drink from a skull’ said Manisha Ma Bhairavi, ‘you must first find the right corpse.’ That is the arresting start of William Dalrymple’s account of Tantra in his ‘Nine Lives: In search of the sacred in modern India.’ [Dalrymple 2009] It reflects one end of the spectrum of Tantra as seen in the West. British Museum has announced new exhibition 'Tantra: enlightenment to revolution'! Rawson, Philip. They were letting people queue and enter regardless of time slot once inside it was super crowded and packed. Europe ; United Kingdom (UK) ... Chris W wrote a review Nov 2020. by alixgeddes 15th Oct 2020 14th Oct 2020. A RADICAL philosophy that transformed the religious, cultural and political landscape of India and beyond will be explored in a landmark new exhibition at the British Museum.. The exhibition -- Tantra: enlightenment to revolution -- is scheduled to take place at the British Museum from September 24, 2020, till January 24, 2021. 2011. Change ), Religion and Collections is dedicated to the care and interpretation of religious collections – in museums, places of worship, faith organisations, schools and elsewhere. The exhibition draws connections with Sufism, a form of Islamic mysticism that possesses similar concepts of self-obliteration through ishq, or divine, fervent love. ©The Trustees of the British Museum. Carrellas, Barbara .2017. Ramos, Imma. Jamme, Franck Andre. He and Kali combine in Tantra: she is often astride his inert form as in the exhibition image. Created as a ‘space to sit and read and be,’ library of exile is an installation by British artist and writer, Edmund de Waal. British Museum exhibition review: Tantra enlightenment to revolution 24 Sep 2020 – 24 Jan 2021 Activities Great Indoors Published on Monday, 12 October 2020 10:27 Last Updated on 13 October 2020 Monica Costa 0 Comments. Tantra: Enlightenment to Revolution The British Museum, London, 24 September — 24 January 2021. There are also court paintings of couples having sex, adorned with jewelry and headdresses on lavish furniture, set against backdrops of rolling, verdant green hills and white-carved buildings. A philosophy originating in medieval India, Tantra has been linked to successive waves of revolutionary thought, from its sixth-century transformation of Hinduism and Buddhism, to the Indian fight for independence and the rise of 1960s… Inside religious practice, Tantra has inspired many people to a certain style of greatness. It ranges from stone friezes of Durga slaughtering the buffalo demon Mahisha, thought to provide rulers with similar battlefield success, to more modern works, like Sutapa Biswas’s Housewives with Steak-Knives, a 1985 painting of a goddess Kali dressed in a printed tunic, her body unconventionally naturalistic. They have dedicated a small space to some fascinating artefacts of historical Tantra and the mood and effect are mesmerising. London: Thames and Hudson. Chakrasamvara (Wheel of Bliss) Tantra, India, AD 700–800 . The British Museum is currently holding an exhibition in Tantra that shines a light on the various styles and forms that have evoked the raw power of the theories. It arose during a period of civic instability in the Indian subcontinent, and thus much of its iconography features a defiant Shiva, the Hindu god who is destroyer of the universe, often depicted in Yogic poses and tinged with blue. Tantra: enlightenment to revolution review — sacred sex, subversion and, phew, no sign of Sting British Museum. The British Museum 4 Sep 2020–24 Jan 2021. Yoni puja is really a devotional practice from the medieval Indian philosophy of Tantra, and its appropriation on Too Hot to Handle exemplifies its constant misinterpretation in the West, along the same homogenizing lines that have charged sacred Indian practices like kama sutra with orientalist impressions of hypersexual hedonism. Thus, attain enlightenment by applying oneself most diligently to the activity of erotic play. ... ©The Trustees of the British Museum. Yet the show’s curation seems to suggest that due to its underlying revolutionary spirit, Tantra possesses some latent key to our contemporary period of political unrest. British Museum British Museum exhibition to challenge 'salacious stereotypes' around Tantra. Tantra: enlightenment to revolution does raise critical questions for the roles that spirituality and pleasure play in our lives, given a workday that attempts to regulate and homogenise our desires into a framework of illusory countercultural individualism. Michell, George et al. This exhibition and its book help us understand why and how it is alive today. Very … The texts are exemplary and the selection visual rather than archaeological. Exhibition Reviews Kyoto to Catwalk at the Victoria & Albert Museum. Visitors cluster around objects with the highest Victorian shock-value – like a Tantric temple frieze sculpture carved of stone, with the dynamic, arched form of a woman receiving oral sex (an actual example of yoni puja). Ask Sian248 about The British Museum. The British Museum has unveiled plans for a Tantra exhibition – insisting it will be about more than sex and yoga. The British Museum's major exhibition for spring 2020 is devoted to the Tantras, sacred Indian texts from the 6th century that shaped the meditational and devot We went to the Tantra exhibition. Then there are mithuna carvings of couples in erotic poses, which aren’t explicitly Tantric but evoke its divine sensuality: lovers caressing each other, lips suspended in the moment before a kiss. Please whitelist our site in order to continue to access The Quietus. Tantra set out to shock and to offend the prudish, the powerful and conservative, and continues to do so. Whilst the British Museum may seem an unlikely place to hold a Tantra Exhibition, I was impressed with their effort and found the exhibition compelling. The British Museum takes us into the world of Tantra in a fascinating blockbuster exhibition that’s filled with stunning artefacts — though there's … Tiny manuscript images are kept to a minimum. Ever since Sting boasted that he could go for “four or five hours” by practising tantric sex, the Indian philosophy has been linked with amorous pop stars.The British Museum gave the musician a British Museum announces new tantra exhibition after five years of research and insists it will be about more than yoga and marathon seven-hour sex sessions Tantra exhibition at the British Museum focuses on themes including well-being It explores female power, gender fluidity, religious pluralism and mindfulness Tantra: Enlightenment To Revolution opens after 5 years of […] Centring on the power of divine feminine energy, Tantra inspired the dramatic rise of goddess worship in medieval India and continues to influence contemporary feminist thought and artistic practice. The British Museum's major exploration of Tantric art and iconography hovers uncomfortably between aesthetics and exoticism, finds Nicole-Ann Lobo, Sutapa Biswas, Housewives with Steak-Knives, 1985. Just remember to arrange general admission before the allotted time slot to the Tantra exhibition. From the press release for the exhibition: Tantra: Enlightenment to Revolution The British Museum, London, 24 September -- 24 January 2021 Curated by Imma Ramos A radical philosophy that transformed the religious, cultural, and political landscape of India and beyond is explored in a landmark new exhibition at the British Museum. The 1974 painting evokes the Bindu chakra, the underlying seed of creation. [Michell et al, 1982] Indefatigable and controversial Hinduist Wendy Doniger characterises writers like Rawson and David Gordon White as ‘hard core’ believing that what is described in texts and art actually happened whether involving corpses, ashes, bodily fluids or endless ecstatic sex. You can see the appeal. The Hindus: an alternative history. ( Log Out /  Each woman stands naked in a wooden cubicle with nothing but a hand mirror, as an intimacy coach encourages the group to examine their vaginas, to vocally observe what they see before painting them. Good to see that the British Museum has reopened after the Covid19 lockdown. Read the choicest cuts from the Quietus archive: reviews, features and opinion, A Renaissance For Live Cinema: Performance At Splice & Sheffield Doc/Fest, Palm Desert Discs: John Garcia's Favourite Albums, Understand The Feeling: Fenriz Of Darkthrone's Favourite House Records, New Weird Britain: Noel Gardner's 2019 Round-Up, A Dastardly Business: Netflix's House of Cards Remake Reviewed, Beyond The Vulva Mirror: Tantra At The British Museum, Hard Wet Epic: The Fluid Seductions Of Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Slipped Discs: Record Sleeves By Contemporary Artists, Invasion Of The Bothy Thatchers: Uncanny Ethnography At Highland Folk Museum, Portrait Of The Artist: Yves Peyré Remembers Francis Bacon, Utopias Are Traps: Toyin Ojih Odutola On A Countervailing Theory. Bindu chakra, the powerful and conservative, and environmentalist fervor Tantra and related sects at greater length in exhibition... 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