Yoga History Inspires Smithsonian Art Exhibit

Washington D.C. will soon be the home of a piece of yoga history. TheSackler Gallery of the Smithsonian’s Museums of Asian Art will host thefirst large exhibition of yoga-related art. The show, titled “Yoga: TheArt of Transformation,” takes a look back at yoga’s history as far back as 500 BCE.

The exhibition will show yoga-related art in a variety of mediums from anumber of different cultures. According to the Smithsonian, “the exhibition includes more than 100 temple sculptures, devotional icons,illustrated manuscripts, court paintings, photographs, books and films borrowed from 25 museums and private collections in India, Europe and the United States.” One of the pieces in the exhibit, the 10 Bahr al-Hayat folios, has never been shown in the U.S. All of these pieces of art will come together to give visitors to the exhibit a look at yoga’sextensive history.

Though there is no record of exactly when yoga came into being, recordsof its existence have been found dating back 5,000 years or more. Around130 individual pieces make up the exhibition and will not only give a visual representation of history, but also depict its cultural permanence. Though the recent surge in popularity may lead some tobelieve that it is a relatively new phenomenon, this exhibit shows through icons, sculptures, photographs and manuscripts the timelessnessof yoga. Visitors will be able to view yoga through the eyes of its practitioners.

“These works of art allow us to trace, often for the first time, yoga’s meanings across the diverse social landscapes of India,” said DebraDiamond, the curator of the museum’s South Asian art in a statement onthe exhibit. “United for the first time, they not only invite aesthetic wonder, but also unlock the past-opening a portal onto yoga’s surprisingly down-to-earth aspects over 2,000 years.” “Yoga: The Art ofTransformation” doesn’t open in the Sackler Gallery until October 19, 2013, and runs through January 26, 2014. The gallery is hoping tofundraise through crowdfunding by July 1 to offset the cost of bringingthe exhibit to the Smithsonian.


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Past Member 4 years ago

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Elena T.
Elena Poensgen4 years ago

Thank you :)

Laura Saxon
.4 years ago

Great article. Thanks for sharing.

Edo R.
Edo R4 years ago

Thanks for sharing!

GGma Sheila
GGmaSheila D4 years ago

I would love to se this - it will be added to the list of places to see. Thank you.

Silas Garrett
Silas Garrett4 years ago

I love the Freer-Sackler gallery. One of my favorite museums. I will have to make an effort to take in this exhibit.

Eternal Gardener
Eternal Gardener4 years ago

Nice :)

Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiran4 years ago