Our world has many different faces. Religions with multiple gods echo this earthly diversity with “heavenly” equivalents. The colourful world of humans is juxtaposed with an assorted collection of deities: male and female, with various temperaments and functions.
People turn to them in emergencies, and regard them as role models and spiritual reference points. The gods also represent energies which give the world a further dimension – one that extends beyond humanity. That was the case in Greek and Roman antiquity as much as it is now in Hinduism, a religion that with over a billion believers is the third largest spiritual community in the world today.
Eventually, the Hindu pantheon will be on show in the Humboldt Forum – right next door to the gods of classical antiquity in the Altes Museum. For now, a statue of the Hindu god Vishnu is making a guest appearance in the Rotunda – one of the most beautiful rooms of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – where the representative of the Indian pantheon occupies pride of place among the Greek and Roman gods.
The Indian divine figure Vishnu, which is currently exhibited among the ancient gods in the Altes Museum, will be the starting point for experts to discuss and compare Western and Eastern deities.
Martin Maischberger, classical archaeologist, museum curator and deputy director of the Collection of Classical Antiquities, will be speaking on behalf of the ancient gods; Martina Stoye, curator for the South Asian and South-East Asian art from the Museum für Asiatische Kunst which will be on show in the Humboldt Forum in future, will reveal the messages encoded in the image of Vishnu. Anand Mishra, a Sanskrit expert and computer linguist from Varanasi in India, will contribute some vivid perspectives from the Indian perspective of a Hindu and a religious studies scholar.
The evening will be moderated by actress and journalist Paula D. Koch.
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.