Asian Art Museum in SF unveils new yoga exhibit

The Asian Art Museum in San Francisco?s new exhibit explores the history of yoga, the centuries old fusion of mind, body, and soul.
February 21, 2014 7:28:54 PM PST
If you think it's a stretch to get 2,500 years' worth of artwork under one roof, you'd be right. We got a tour of San Francisco's newly unveiled yoga exhibit.

Starting Friday, more than 130 pieces of art ranging from ancient sculptures, paintings, manuscripts, and film from the 2nd to the 20th centuries are on display at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco.

The practice of yoga was developed some 500 years before Christ, or before the Common Era. Followers of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jain used yoga as a means of stilling the mind.

"Its goals also came to include supernatural powers, you know, worldly control," said Debra Diamond, Curator of Southeast Asian Art. "And later, a supple life body. In modernity, we've also added such goals as a beautiful body and spiritual holistic health, but yoga has never been anything singular."

The downward facing dog, the lotus, the dolphin plank, these are all poses that millions of Americans practice on a daily basis day and spend billions of dollars doing. But here at the Asian Art Museum, centuries of artwork focus on yoga's origins of non-attachment to the real world, the healing of the mind and body and empowerment.

"Yoga is really important in this city," Diamond said. "And San Francisco has been a leader in bringing yoga and often very serious points of yoga to this country."

Here at the Asian Art Museum, stunning and dramatic works of art from around the world show how artists translated yogic identities and practices into a visual form.

For more information on the Asian Art Museum's newest exhibit, YOGA: The Art of Transformation, click here.


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