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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Tantra: Enlightenment to Revolution

British Museum / London / Art

In India, before the sixth century, Buddhism and Hinduism were almost always characterized by abstinence. Then a wave of revolutionary thought—Tantra!—decided that everything is sacred, even the profane. Formerly taboo sexual acts became paths to self-realization, transcendence. The worship of female deities began, whereby goddesses were admired for their violent and erotic power. One such figure, Kali, carved a path for Indian independence in the 1960s and today shapes contemporary feminist ideals. This retrospective showcases sculpture, painting, prints, and ritual objects from India, Nepal, Tibet, Japan, and the U.K., from the seventh century A.D. to the present. —E.C.

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British Museum Great Russell St, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 3DG, UK
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