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Highlights for the Humboldt Forum : Vishnu, the Redeemer

carved by the hand of man created gods image, made of coarse – ground tool is the contradiction in the eyes of a believer? Is the Definition of the Divine is not just that it is bigger and more abstract than all of the concrete Form, that it is eternal, without beginning and without end – limits and is formless and out of invisibility, out effective?

all religions must, as soon as you want a human visible Form of the Divine, with this contradiction apart. However, it has been found in different regions of the world in the course of time, many different and always new solutions to the visualization of the Divine. Because people do probably easier with the Holy, if you have a visible To worship.

In the future Humboldt Forum will show numerous images of the gods of Hinduism the fascinating image language, which was developed in India to represent its many different deities: Since about 2000 years, each deity will gestures by certain specified poses (asanas) and hand (mudras), as well as by symbolic objects in the hands (attributes), certain hairstyles, and other individualized accessories (headgear, clothing, jewelry). In this way, images to describe the function of a deity in the cosmic Events in knappest possible Form, and play on special qualities, to the worship of believers or in self-develop.

Both feet firmly on the ground

A particularly beautiful example of such Indian gods image, the Statue of the Hindu God Vishnu (from Tamil Nadu, South India, from the 8. Century), which is currently seen as one of the harbingers of the Humboldt forum in the Old Museum. Vishnu is one of the most important male deities of Hinduism. Many of today's over one billion Hindus worldwide, he is considered the Supreme God. Like you characterized him as a 'sustainer': The sacred texts, he always rises when the Chaos overhand threatens to take down and intervenes saving.

The figure was bought in 1963, a New York gallery by the Berlin Museum of Indian art.Photo: Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Museum für Asiatische Kunst/Stiftung Humboldt Forum in the Berliner Schloss, digital reproduction: Jester Blank GbR

The South Indian image the role brings Vishnu as the a stabilizing cosmic king subtly to the expression: In complete balance and Balance of the God stands in a stable Pose. Both feet stand firmly on the ground. Well grounded, he is straight. He seems focused and relaxed. Be flawlessly beautiful face shows the deep relaxation of a meditator: Vishnu rests. His lower left Hand is casually placed on the hip. The lower right Hand, in front of the chest raised as if in greeting, signaling to the viewer: 'do not be Afraid! I'll protect You’. On the head of a tall, jeweled crown sits as a sign of Vishnu's Majesty.

A weapon to use against demons

divinity shows itself in the Indian language of images is most visible in the supernatural number of the arms, here are four in number. In the upper hands of Lord Vishnu, balances the most typical attributes: in his upper Right a Wurfrad (cakra) with a sharp edge, a weapon that he used against demons – a well-established ruler icon. In its upper Left-hand Vishnu holds a snail shell (shankha). This can elicit – if you blow into a Trumpet blast from a fog horn. The myths, Vishnu expelled also demons. Such snail shells are in Indian temples, but also since time immemorial, a prop in the Ritual: Up to the present day, your sound rings out as a prelude to Holy actions, and you pour out you Holy water on to weihende statues.

Alone: A correctly sculpture led represents no real God. To inspire such man-made gods, statue of, in India, extensive rituals. Only then, it is assumed, that the divine spark in gods image. The last step is the 'Open' (Drawing) of the gods eyes. Then only 'live' the image. Even today, Consecration of the images of the Gods take place in India, a thousand-fold.

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Highlights for the Humboldt Forum, the Gold of the Quimbaya

Manuela Fischer Sebastian Pimiento Benjamin Böhlke

The author is a curator for the arts of South and Southeast Asia at the Asian art Museum. In the Humboldt Forum, she designed the rooms to the art of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.

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