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Divine Union: The Transformation of Desire in Himalayan Art

October 8, 2002–July 2003

This installation of paintings and sculptures from Tibet, Nepal and northern India features divine couples from the Buddhist and Hindu pantheons. Appearing in both their peaceful and fierce forms, these gods are paired together in spiritual and sexual union.

Drawn from the museum’s rich Himalayan collection, these works of art are the visual expressions of an ideal partnership: two divine beings acting in concert to transform desire into a purified state that brings about spiritual advancement. This union is at once a reflection of spiritual practice and the fulfillment of that practice. The often complex, always sensuous images provide an introduction to the sophisticated symbolism and religious practices of Buddhism and Hinduism in the Himalayan region.

Main Building


Melissa Kerin, Research Assistant, Indian and Himalayan Art; Darielle Mason, Stella Kramrisch Curator of Indian and Himalayan Art

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