From Temple to Home: Celebrating Ganesha, a spotlight exhibition developed by the British Museum, opens at The Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle on Saturday 21 May 2016.
Hinduism is the third largest religion in the world with approximately 900 million followers. Among the many deities worshipped by Hindus, Lord Ganesha holds a special place in their hearts. The elephant-headed Ganesha is one of the most popular Hindu gods, and is known as the creator and remover of obstacles.
The central object of this exhibition is a beautiful 13th century temple sculpture of Ganesha. At 119cm tall, it depicts many of the major attributes of the popular Hindu god; this Ganesh is a corpulent figure and is shown holding a bowl of his favourite sweets whilst at the base of his lotus pedestal crouches his rat 'vahana' or vehicle. His anklets are of snakes, as is the sacred thread wound across his chest.
The exhibition is divided into the following themes:
· An introduction to Hinduism and its key beliefs
· Hindu worship – daily devotion, worship in the temple and in the home, offerings to the gods
· Ganesha – a deity many Hindus look to for good fortune
It is described as bright, colourful and vibrant by The Bowes Museum’s Education and Learning Coordinator, Amy Bainbridge, who has curated the display with families in mind. “Ganesha is happy with simple devotion as long as it’s sincere,” she said.
There will be interactives for children, music and films playing, traditional Indian clothing worn for celebratory occasions, items for children to try on, Rangoli patterns, a story area and craft table. There will also be a shrine, illustrating how one might be set up in the home.
“Although many Hindus like to worship at home, sometimes they go to the mandir (temple),” said Mrs Bainbridge. “While many Hindus make regular visits to a temple, some attend only at festival times. The temple is not just a place for worship, it can also serve as a community centre.”
Whether at home or temple, puja is the ritual worship of a Hindu god, and a puja tray will be on show in the exhibition. The tray holds seven items – a bell; lamp; incense holder and incense; water container and spoon; powder container; blessed food and a statue – assisting Hindus to employ all their senses as they worship.
From Temple to Home: Celebrating Ganesha opens at The Bowes Museum on Saturday 21 May 2016, running until Sunday 18 September.
The Bowes Museum is open daily from 10.00 – 5.00. For details of all the exhibitions and events see www.thebowesmuseum.org.uk or call 01833 690606.