Humboldt Forum
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Museum für Asiatische Kunst / Stiftung Humboldt Forum im Berliner Schloss, digital reproduction: Jester Blank GbR
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Museum für Asiatische Kunst / Stiftung Humboldt Forum im Berliner Schloss, digitale Reproduktion: Jester Blank GbR

October 26, 2018, 7:30 PM

Humboldt Forum Highlights

Processions – pilgrims – parades

@ Pergamonmuseum

Free admission. The event is fully booked.

in German and English (translated into German and English)

As part of the Humboldt Forum Highlights the humpbacked bull Nandi – the god Shiva’s processional mount – is currently visiting the Pergamonmuseum and will soon be exhibited in the Humboldt Forum. As their point of departure, renowned experts will discuss the movement of people and gods in the Babylonian Processional Way at the Pergamonmuseum.

Walking, riding, marching

Processions, pilgrimages and parades unite people who have vastly different goals: heightening concentration, getting in touch with gods and other people or demonstrating the power of a group. And the objects that people carry with them are correspondingly diverse. In Hindu processions, for example, Nandis – processional animals made from wood or metal which are often magnificently decorated – serve as the means of transport for effigies of the god Shiva.

Foretaste of the Humboldt Forum

Those attending the event on the evening of 26 October will be greeted by a Nandi in the Pergamonmusuem, as a foretaste of the Museum für Asiatische Kunst’s permanent exhibition at the Humboldt Forum. Visitors will have the opportunity to pay homage to the processional animal at the start of the event. Following an opening address by Lutz Martin, acting director of the Vorderasiatisches Museum (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin), visitors will collectively walk past the Nandi along the Babylonian Processional Way as part of a performance by the artist katrinem, soaking up the sound of the museum hall and the echo of the objects.


Three Talks

Nandi is also the theme of the first discussion that follows. For Vilwanathan Krishnamurty, vice president of the Ganesha Hindu Tempels e.V. and Brigitte Luchesi, religious scholar and ethnologist, it will serve as a case study for talking about how people make contact with the gods in today’s Hinduism. Sharon MacDonald, social anthropologist at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and George Abungu, former director of the National Museum of Kenya, will then discuss museums as new places of pilgrimage and thereby as venues where people can meet. The third discussion addresses the question of the importance of the choice of backdrop for the sustained impact of parades and demonstrations. The participants will be Alfred Hagemann, who heads the History of the Site department and Daniel Morat, curator of the Berlin Exhibition in the Humboldt Forum.

Before the event and during the informal conclusion, drinks and snacks will be provided by the company eßkultur at their customary low prices.


George Abungu is Kenyan archaeologist and the former director of the National Museum of Kenya and a member of the Humboldt Forum’s team of international experts.
Alfred Hagemann is an art historian in charge of the History of the Site department of the Stiftung Humboldt Forum im Berliner Schloss. Vilwanathan Krishnamurthy works for the Landesamt für Flüchtlingsangelegenheiten (State Office for Refugee Affairs) and chairs Berlin’s Sri-Ganesha congregation in Neukölln, who are currently building Germany’s largest Hindu temple in the borough.
Brigitte Luchesi is an ethnologist and religious scholar specializing in Hindu religious history and is on the executive committee of the Religious Aesthetics working group of the Deutschen Vereinigung für Religionswissenschaft (German Association for Religious Studies).
Sharon Macdonald is professor of social anthropology at the Institut für Europäische Ethnologie (Humboldt Universität zu Berlin), where she is the founder and director of CARMAH, Centre for Anthropological Research on Museums and Heritage.
Daniel Morat is lecturer for history at the Freie Universität Berlin and is curating the Entertainment section of the Berlin Exhibition in the Humboldt Forum, which is being coordinated by Kulturprojekte Berlin and Stadtmuseum Berlin.


The event is fully booked.

Humboldt Forum Highlights

The first 15 of these Humboldt Forum Highlights were being presented between October 2018 and May 2019 in two formats: in an exhibition as well as during conversations that will be held at various locations in Berlin. The exhibition on Museum Island has been extended until the end of September 2019.

Mehr Informationen ►

Exhibition on Museum Island (until 29 September 2019)

Until May 2019, the first Humboldt Forum Highlights were on display in the Pergamonmuseum, Altes Museum and Neues Museum on Museum Island. The exhibtion at Pergamonmuseum and Neues Museum has been extended until the end of September 2019.

More Information about the exhibition ►

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