How to Make the Universe Right

Event Date: 

Saturday, January 17, 2015 to Friday, May 1, 2015

Event Date Details: 

Opening Reception: January 16; 5:30-7:30pm

How to Make the Universe Right presents an unprecedented group of scrolls and ceremonial objects of the Yao people and other groups from Vietnam and Southern China. This rich tradition of Shamanist practice brings together Daoist and Buddhist deities, Confucian ancestor worship, and Animism.

These scroll paintings, costumes, masks, instruments and the other ceremonial objects represent an unbroken link to the past of Asian mountain cultures whose roots go back 2000 years. Scrolls vary in number from sets of three to complete sets of seventeen or more depending on the shaman’s stature and the intended purpose of the work. The complete Daoist pantheon is usually represented, including the Three Pure Ones, the Jade Emperor, and Master of Saints. The spiritual stories represented in the scroll paintings also include celestial beings such as the Three Merciful Ones, the Four Heavenly Messengers, and the Ten Kings of Hell, and divine animals such as tigers, dragons, lion-dogs, and others.

With the help of scrolls and other spiritual objects, such as the ones exhibited in this show, the shamans guide their people’s vital spiritual life binding them together and helping them “make the universe right.”





Image: Courtesy of Jill and Barry Kitnick.