Yoga: The Art of Transformation

October 19, 2013 – January 26, 2014

Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
1050 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC

Sublevel 1 Floor Plan

Through masterpieces of Indian sculpture and paintings, this exhibition explores yoga's goals; its Hindu, as well as Buddhist, Jain, and Sufi manifestations; its means of transforming body and consciousness; and its profound philosophical foundations. It is the first exhibition to present this leitmotif of Indian visual culture and examines the roles of yogis and yoginis played in Indian society over two thousand years.

More than 120 works, from the 3rd century to the early 20th century, illuminate yoga's central tenets as well as its obscured histories. Temple sculptures, devotional icons, illustrated manuscripts, court paintings, photographs, books, and films are on view. Borrowed from 25 museums and private collections in India, Europe, and the United States, its highlights include an installation that reunites for the first time three monumental stone yogini goddesses from a 10th-century Chola temple; 10 folios from the first illustrated compilation of asanas (yogic postures), which was made for a Mughal emperor in 1602 and has never been exhibited in the United States; and a Thomas Edison film, Hindoo Fakir (1906), the first movie ever produced about India.

Following its Washington debut, “The Art of Transformation” will travel to the San Francisco Asian Art Museum (Feb. 21, 2014–May 25, 2014) and the Cleveland Museum of Art (June 22, 2014–Sep. 7, 2014).

Catalogue: Yoga: The Art of Transformation