Shamanism is a fascinating subject. Reaching far back into prehistory, the quest to cure the ailing and ensure our survival gave rise to its development. It is deeply rooted in *animism and appears as such in virtually all societies around the globe. The striking similarities in beliefs and rituals throughout so many different cultures make it an intriguing and mysterious phenomena from the modern western perspective.
Regarding the world of the unknown, Albert Einstein truly observed,
“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead —his eyes are closed.
To know what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms—this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true spirituality.”
Such is the realm and wisdom of the shaman. They have been the masters of mystery and keepers of knowledge – the healers, priests and philosophers throughout time. Certainly among the earliest professionals, some believe shamanism to be the first specialized profession. The many functions they perform remain unchanged – to keep all things in balance – man, beast, spirits and nature. As societies evolve, the many roles once filled by a shaman are now the focus of a variety of specialists such as doctors, lawyers, philosophers and spiritual leaders.
A ‘Shaman’ is defined as one who can enter the spirit world at will via an altered state and can exert influence on both benevolent and malevolent spirits. That knowledge and power is used for the purpose of healing and divination in service to the community.
The word, ‘Shaman’, is derived from the Tungus-Evenki speaking peoples of Siberia. During the mid 1500s when the Russians began colonizing Siberia, they heard the term Shaman used for spiritual leaders. It was later adopted by western anthropologists struggling to understand native American practices they recognized as similar.
All shaman have a repertoire of amulets, instruments and costumes specific to their society that are essential to their practice. This exhibition includes a range of those objects personally collected by David Bardwick over the last two decades from Nepal, India, Vietnam, Thailand and across Indonesia.
*Animism is the belief that all things have souls; plants, inanimate objects and natural phenomena – such as weather and volcanic eruptions, and that there are supernatural powers that organize and animate the material universe.
A special art exhibition
November 9th – December 3rd, 2017 – David Alan Collection
Opening night reception – November 9th 6-9pm.
“Balancing the Universe” will debut an unprecedented assemblage of over 200 authentic shaman pieces personally collected over two decades from different cultures across Asia – Nepal, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand. Some of the pieces, dating back 400 years, have been passed down through generations and invite us to explore some of the oldest and most revered areas of human endeavor – healing and spirituality.
Shamanism is well documented as far back as 10,000 years. It is thought to be the first specialized profession and has been found in virtually all cultures across the globe. As healers, sages and spiritual leaders across millennia, the many functions that shaman perform remain unchanged – to keep all things in balance – man, beast, spirits and nature.
The range of jobs in their repertoire include what are now many diverse contemporary specializations such as; doctors, priests, artists, and philosophers. We all share the deepest respect for the men and women who have devoted their lives to the physical and spiritual well-being of their communities.
We hope this exhibition will take you on a journey into the unknown and that it will be an inspiring, thought provoking, and enlightening experience. We invite and encourage you to visit.
All works in the gallery are for sale.