Yoga assumes classical pose
WASHINGTON — Yoga is moving from the studio mat to the museum gallery.
The Smithsonian Institution has organized what curators believe is the first exhibition about the visual history and art of yoga, its origins and evolution over time.
The Smithsonian's Sackler Gallery will showcase the exhibit, “Yoga: The Art of Transformation,” through January. Later, it will travel to the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco and to the Cleveland Museum of Art.
Curators brought together Indian sculptures, manuscripts and paintings, as well as posters, illustrations, photographs and films to showcase yoga's history over 2,000 years.
Museum Director Julian Raby said years of research behind the exhibit shed light on yoga's meanings and histories.
“It examines for the first time a spectacular, but until now largely ignored, archive,” he said. “That archive is India's visual culture of extraordinary yoga-related artworks created, as you will see, over some two millennia.”
Guest teachers will lead yoga classes in the museum's galleries on Wednesdays and Sundays. The museum will host a symposium for scholars and enthusiasts on yoga's visual culture.
Curator Debra Diamond said the Smithsonian borrowed some of the greatest masterpieces in Indian art as well as pieces that have never been shown before.
The exhibit examines the concepts and practices of yoga traditions, including meditation and postures found in Indian art dating back hundreds of years. The first piece is an 11th century sculpture representing a yoga teacher, seated in the lotus posture with legs crossed to signify enlightenment.
Such sculptures were displayed in Hindu temples so people could see the teacher and “understand yoga's transformative potential,” Diamond said.
Three life-size sculptures of yogini goddesses from Hindu temples illustrate the belief that female powers could be used to allow practitioners to achieve divine powers and enlightenment.
Other galleries examine how the idea of yoga was circulated worldwide, Diamond said. Early American posters depict yogis as magicians, along with a 1902 film by Thomas Edison.
The exhibit is funded in part by the Smithsonian's first major crowd-funding campaign, which raised $174,000 in six weeks.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Feds eye use of federal dollars for ads for for-profit colleges
- Fetal parts in Planned Parenthood lab shown in 4th video
- Blankenship’s attorneys want mine blast evidence out of trial
- Ex-Cincy cop pleads not guilty, posts bond
- McClatchy: Emails on Clinton’s private server contain Benghazi information
- Minn. dentist laying low in slaying of lion
- Christian college in Illinois to stop providing health care over Obamacare
- Pluto has 100 miles of haze, nitrogen-infused flowing ice
- Hope dims for Fla. teens lost at sea
- Feds accuse Philadelphia congressman Fattah of corruption
- Obama hopes he has enough votes to sustain a potential veto of Iran nuke deal; pro-Israel groups aim to stop it