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Tamil Yoginis: Goddesses of Multiplicity

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Tamil Yoginis: Goddesses of Multiplicity


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Saturday, February 11
10:00 a.m.–noon PT
Speaker: Katherine E. Kasdorf, Associate Curator of Arts of Asia and the Islamic World at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA)
Virtual Event


Among the sculptures visitors encounter in the Detroit Institute of Arts’ gallery of Indian and Southeast Asian art is a life-sized yogini goddess from southern India, carved from stone sometime between the late ninth and mid-tenth century. Embodying both attractive and threatening characteristics, she projects an unmistakable power. In the temple for which she was made, which no longer survives, this power would have been amplified by potentially dozens of other such goddesses enshrined alongside her, many of which are now housed in museums throughout North America, Europe, and India. This presentation will explore the changing contexts to which the DIA yogini and her companions have belonged, from the temple that once enshrined them, to multiple later shrines, to the museums that house many of them today.

Katherine E. Kasdorf is Associate Curator of Arts of Asia and the Islamic World at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA). Curatorial projects include new permanent collection galleries at the DIA and the Walters Art Museum, where she previously held a Wieler-Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellowship, and the Walters exhibition Ferocious Beauty: Wrathful Deities from Tibet and Nepal. She has published articles on architectural reuse in Hindu and Islamic contexts in South Asia and on works of Tibetan art at the Walters Art Museum. With colleagues, she is currently planning an exhibition that will bring together a group of now-dispersed yogini goddess sculptures from Tamil Nadu (southern India), which will explore their many transformations over a 1000-year history.


Please reserve your spot by clicking on this link. All participants will be sent the Zoom link and instructions via email once you secure your place. Space is limited.

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Sponsored by the South Asian Arts Council.


Featured at top right: Yogini (detail), Indian, late 9th–mid-10th century, pyroxene gabbro. Detroit Institute of Arts, Founders Society Purchase, L. A. Young Fund, 57.88.

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February 11, 2023
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
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