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Exhibition

India

Reflections of Sacred Worlds

From 15th October 2022 to 23rd April 2023
Opening times
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Admission

Created in collaboration with the Museo delle Civiltà in Rome, this exhibition features nearly 200 original objects from the renowned Italian museum spanning over 1,300 years of Indian art.

From the traditional art one might find in temples to the folk and tribal traditions of villages, the different threads of India’s religious fabric are interwoven here into a rich, visual tapestry illustrating an essential element in the evolution of the country’s civilization and culture. This exhibition explores the giant subcontinent’s three native religions, featuring the gracious and powerful dance of stone sculptures representing Indian gods and goddesses, the serene artistic expressions of the Buddha and Jaina Tirthankaras, delicately rendered miniatures and colourful paintings, along with jewelry and folk art depicting the myths and legends of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.

Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism appeared consecutively in India between the 15th and 4th centuries BC.

These three religions share common features, the main one being the spiritual quest that allows humans to escape the cycle of reincarnations – known as samsara – to reach a state of deliverance and liberation from the sufferings of existence.

The section devoted to Hinduism allows visitors to discover the complex pantheon organized around dominant figures, like Shiva (“The Benevolent” – unpredictable and ambivalent), the feminine divinity of Devi, Durga (“The Unapproachable”, who often embodies the creative energy and power of God), and Vishnu (preserver of the cosmic order and savior of the human race, with his countless avatars). The evocation of a Hindu temple allows visitors to measure the importance of the sacred rites that take place there.

Jainism – a religion of asceticism, non-violence and tolerance, initiated by Vardhamana Mahavira, that was practiced in caves, rock temples, and sometimes sumptuous stupas –also has an entire section devoted to it, offering an opportunity to explore the most demanding forms of a spirituality based on renunciation.

Finally, Buddhism – a philosophy whose emblematic figure, Siddhartha Gautama became the Buddha (i.e., the Enlightened One) – is presented, along with bodhisattvas, who choose not to reach nirvana out of compassion for beings that they guide down the path to Enlightenment. Drawings, paintings, bronzes, sculptures, stoneware, ornaments, masks, altars, illuminated manuscripts, and painted textiles: all of them demonstrate an unparalleled level of creativity.

A FEAST FOR THE SENSES

Visitors are invited to take a journey to distant climes, thanks to this immersive exhibition.

The ground floor acts as a parenthesis allowing the public to familiarize itself with India in all its diversity. Large-format images of contemporary India are projected, plunging visitors into the heart of Indian temples, cities and landscapes. The shimmering fabrics on display also condition spectators for this. Music is, of course, largely present, where unfamiliar sounds instantly lure us into this very rich world. Not to mention the unmistakeable scent of incense, which will have marked any traveller to this part of the globe.

And for the first (and maybe only!) time, this exhibition will allow visitors to try a few yoga positions! Guided by a virtual yoga teacher, individuals can try their hand at a few exercises, from the simplest to the most technical. The system (which recognizes images in real time) will signal if the movements are correct or not. An original, interactive, and fun moment for all!