You are here: Home Events Zoom-Vortrag: The Iconography of Patañjali.

Date: Jun 21, 2021 Time: 18:00 - 19:30 ( Monday )

Zoom-Vortrag: The Iconography of Patañjali.

Referee: Prof. Dr. Gudrun Bühnemann

Patañjali was the name of a premodern Indian sage to whom important works on Sanskrit grammar, Yoga philosophy and the medical system of Āyurveda are ascribed. In recent decades increasing attention has focused on Patañjali as the authority on and figurehead of Yoga. Believed to be the author of set of aphorisms on Yoga philosophy (the Yogasūtras), which has attained canonical status in many Yoga traditions, he is eulogized with invocations in Sanskrit recited at the beginning of Yoga classes. The recitation of stanzas describing Patañjali's half-human half-serpentine physical form, and his popularity combined with the exalted status of Patañjali's Yogasūtras in schools of modern postural Yoga, have generated an interest in visual representations of the sage. As I will show, this modern engagement with Patañjali’s visual form began in the 1980s in South India.

In this talk I will trace the development of Patañjali's iconography, starting with representations as a two-armed half-human half-serpentine devotee of Śiva in the tradition of the Naṭarāja Temple at Cidambaram in Tamilnadu, South India in the early 12th century. I will then examine the more recent iconography which furnishes the sage with an extra pair of hands holding Vaiṣṇava attributes and elevates his status to that of an independent divinity. Finally, I will look at contemporary representations experimenting with new forms.

Target audience: Studenten, Professoren, Presse, Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiter, Mitarbeiter aus Technik und Verwaltung
Public access: Yes
Event host: Abteilung für Asiatische und Islamische Kunstgeschichte
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