Imma Ramos

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7:00 pm to 8:15 pm
Virtual Event

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Imma Ramos

Tantra: enlightenment to revolution – an exhibition at the British Museum

This paper will focus on the British Museum’s exhibition, Tantra: enlightenment to revolution (24 September 2020 – 24 January 2021), which explored Tantra’s links to successive waves of revolutionary thought, from its early medieval transformation of Hinduism and Buddhism, to the Indian fight for independence and the rise of 1960s counterculture in the West. At the heart of the exhibition was the Museum’s temple statue of a Yogini from Kanchi (939–967) alongside an imaginative and immersive recreation of one of the most famous Yogini temples in India, located in Hirapur in Odisha and built around the 10th century. The paper will discuss the development of this audio-visual space, which took inspiration from Sanskrit texts composed between 650 and 1200, including the Brahmayamala Tantra (650–750)


Dr Imma Ramos is the curator of the medieval to modern South Asia collections at the British Museum. She curated the exhibition, Tantra: Enlightenment to Revolution (24 September 2020 – 24 January 2021), and is the author of its accompanying book which presents the first historical exploration of Tantric visual culture from its origins in India to its reimagining in the West. Her research interests revolve around the relationship between religion, politics and gender in South Asian visual culture.

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