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Detail, Krishna Vishvarupa

Krishna Vishvarupa (detail). India, Himachal Pradesh, Bilaspur, ca. 1740; Opaque watercolor and gold on paper, 19.8 x 11.7 cm; Catherine and Ralph Benkaim Collection.

Symposium

Yoga and Visual Culture: An Interdisciplinary Symposium

November 21–23, 2013
Freer, Meyer Auditorium

Yoga’s histories, meanings, transformations, and practices were explored through the lens of visual culture at this public symposium. Twenty years ago, yoga was largely understood as a monolithic and unchanging tradition. While today we have a far richer understanding of yoga’s historical transformations and trans-sectarian manifestations, visual culture—ranging from sectarian, court, and popular imagery to architecture and photography—remains its least-explored archival resource.

Over a three-day period, seventeen scholars from a range of disciplines presented new research on diverse aspects of yoga’s visual culture. Six symposium sessions were organized around topics such as "Yoga and Place" and "Yoga and Print Culture." Individual paper presentations alternated with discussions and time to explore the landmark Sackler exhibition Yoga: The Art of Transformation.