This landmark exhibition explores femininity, feminine power and the depiction of women throughout history as commanding spiritual beings.

From deities and goddesses to saints and demons, the exhibition considers the embodiment of feminine power through a wide range of human experience. Ancient sculpture, sacred artefacts and contemporary art from six continents will investigate the different ways femininity is perceived around the world, in the first major exhibition to focus on female spiritual beings in belief and mythology.

The exhibition will explore complex themes from wisdom, passion and nature, to war, mercy and justice, with special guest contributors responding through video and audio ‘thought-pieces’. These works will be dotted around the exhibition to encourage discussion and reflection on some of the show’s central themes: Leyla Hussein, psychotherapist and international campaigner against violence against women will reflect on ‘Forces of Nature’; Mary Beard, classicist author and broadcaster will consider ‘Passion and Desire’; Elizabeth Day, writer and presenter of the podcast How To Fail will explore ‘Magic and Malice’; former British Army Major and human rights lawyer Rabia Siddique will share her thoughts on 'Justice and Defence'; and writer, comedian and The Guilty Feminist podcast host, Deborah Francis-White will investigate ‘Compassion and Salvation’.

There will be over 70 unique objects to explore including painted scrolls from Tibet, Roman sculpture, intricate Egyptian amulets, Japanese prints, and Indian relief carvings. Particular highlights include a ceramic incantation bowl (500-800 AD) featuring an early image of the demonic woman Lilith, thought in Jewish demonology to be the first wife of Adam and consort of Satan, and a contemporary sculpture of the formidable Hindu goddess Kali, both feared and loved for her power and aggression.

ArchaeologyCeramicsDecorative artsFilm & videoPaintingPrints & drawingsSculptureAncient & classical artContemporary artLondon

British Museum

Great Russell Street, London, Greater London, WC1B 3DG

020 7323 8181


Opening times

Daily, 10am – 5pm

Closed 24 – 26 Dec and 1 Jan

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