Female power on show at the British Museum

Female power on show at the British Museum


contemporary take on the Hindu goddess Kali is going on show in the British Museum as part of its latest exhibition.

The icon, by Bengali artist Kaushik Ghosh, is one of dozens of exhibits from around the world in the Feminine Power show which examines female spiritual beings and opens on May 19.

Exhibits including painted scrolls from Tibet, Roman sculpture, intricate personal amulets from Egypt and Japanese prints will be accompanied by commentaries from figures including classicist and broadcaster Professor Mary Beard, The Guilty Feminist podcaster Deborah Frances-White, writer Elizabeth Day and former army officer and lawyer Rabia Siddique.

The icon of Kali was commissioned for the show and shows the goddess wearing a string of bloodied heads which represent her power to destroy individual ego and free her followers from worldly concerns.

Trustees of the British Museum

Curator Belinda Crerar said: “This exhibition is a tour through history and around the world to see the different ways female power and authority have been perceived in spiritual belief. The diversity of these goddesses, spirits, enlightened beings and saints, and their profound influence in people’s lives today and in the past, gives us pause to reflect on how femininity – and indeed masculinity – are defined and valued now and in the future.”


Also being examined in the show is the figure of Lilith, known in Jewish lore as the first wife of Adam, and represented by ceramic bowl from 500AD Iraq bearing her image which is thought to have been buried upside down outside houses to protect from evil spirits.

Muriel Gray, Deputy Chair of Trustees of the British Museum, said ‘The Citi exhibition Feminine power: the divine to the demonicis brimming with magic, wisdom, fury and passion.

“I am very proud that through the breadth and depth of the British Museum’s collection, alongside special loans, we can tell such powerful and universal stories of faith and femininity from the most ancient cultures to living traditions around the world. I would like to thank Citi, whose on-going support has allowed the Museum to realise this ground-breaking exhibition.”


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