Sacred Love: Erotic art in the temples of Nepal
- ADARSH BOOKS (INDIA)/ MANDALA PUBLICATIONS (NEPAL)
When one looks up at the roof struts of temples in the Kathmandu valley, a whimsical realm of amorous beings appear. Unlike the erotic art of the famous Khajuraho Temples of India, these explicit carvings in Nepal are relatively crude, made more with humour than dedication. Elephants turn missionary, beasts love men, and every taboo is violated. Time has forgotten the real reason for their existence although tour guides proclaim confidently that they serve to protect the temples from the goddess of lightning, a shy virgin.
Through extensive fieldwork with craftsmen, sociologists, historians, priests and even Maoist rationalists, the author explores the reasons behind their existence, the enduring beliefs of the culture that gave birth to them, the principles of Nepalese temple architecture, the lives of the craftsmen who carve these images, the attitude of Nepalese society towards them, and the reconstruction efforts underway following the tragic earthquake of 2015. The book also presents an extensive collection of captivating images of the erotic carvings from all around Nepal and comparable art in other cultures.
It is both entertaining and insightful. Even from the very first pages, as the author plans his trip and corners his boss in the bathroom, it is all quite interesting.
The book is a wonderful confluence of scholarly investigation, interviews and observations.
Sandesh Ghimire, Kathmandu Post (Book Review of Sacred Love) Full Review
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