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Alcune di loro imponenti altre minori, ma sempre frutto della mia curiosità
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lo studio e la ricerca sono un’aspetto vincente della galleria che ospita
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ALLON SHA – KOTOKO - RIGA
from 05/05/2015 to 23/06/2015
MAGIC AND SPIRITUALITY IN ISLAMIC AFRICA
Allon Shoa – Magic Koranic / Tables Kotoko – Magic Knights / Riga - Ritual vestments
ALLON SHA – KOTOKO – RIGA testifies the world of Hausa and Fulani In Islamic Africa. The exhibition includes Koranic tables, vestments of Sufi and Sunni priests in the shape of artistic canvases, little horses challenging the mob to protect warriors.
Muslim script has a mystical value, the gift that Allah disclosed to the man, the extension of the word written by God. Alluna/Allon are the Koranic tables testifying the spirituality, the education and the magic practices of those African peoples living between Niger and Nigeria that were converted to Islam by the Sufi confraternities at the end of the XIII century.
The tables had four main purposes. Allon Karatu concerns how to write and memorize the Koran. Allon Sauka are the diplomas granted to the young who were allowed to ask for money in exchange of reciting the Koran and even get married at the end of their courses. Allon Sha, literally is “to be drunk” meaning to be swalloned as a liquid, consists of darker tables representing symbols, magic squares and holy formulae, whose ink, was later washed away and collected from the tables into a glass, given to the concerned person to be healed and purified. Then the Allon Kafingida which, apart from numbers and holy words, include also drawings of animals from Sahel; the Allon Kafingida were used to ward off the evil spirits from homes.
Aesthetic harmony cannot be separated from a certain way of being Islamic and a certain way of conceiving the world; it is a restless pursuit of elegance, refinement, culture, in other words “adab”. The pursuit of perfection of body and soul together represents the basic key of existence for any Muslim.
The luxury and refined style of the tunics worn by men of prestige to show their position must be seen from this point of view. The magnificently embroidered and powerfully drowned material called “Riga” is sensational both in visual and spiritual terms; masters in handwriting, geometry and numerology were required to create them .
Africans from Chad are the Kotoko Knights, little sculpture from the XIX century. They are aesthetically complex talismans designated to protect warriors from madness: knight/horse together represent an ancestral symbol whose powerful strength is addressed, in absolute terms, to any man at any time, and can be easily identified with personages such as Roland at Roncevaux, Don Quixote, Saint George and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Kotoko Knights are anonymous personages who symbolize an amazing example of “ontological grandeur”. Despite their small size - from 2 to 10 cm - if placed in a perspective which is kept clear from objects, they can hold any dimension. The aesthetic synthesis they represent is not due to the dimension of the object but to our perceptive capacity .
The exhibition discloses the enigma of the pursuit of “perfection” through the Alluna, the Kotoko Knights and the Riga, which from the XII century went on till the XX century. It is the most complex investigation and the most complete testimony ever realized about the relationship between Africa and Islam.
The paths of Prophets towards salvation
The 100 Buddha from Indochina
The meaning of Buddha’s postures
In May 26th at 5 p.m., during the Expo in Milan, David Sorgato Gallery in Via Sant’ Orsola 13 will present “The 100 Buddha from Indochina” exhibition. The exhibition is the result of several research journeys throughout Asia at the discovery of the meanings of the various asana (body positions) and mudra (hand positions).
Siam, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos , Burma, Malaysia disclose the deep significance of the teachings given by prophet Siddharta Guatama. Once Siddharta, who was born in India in the VI century, got rid of his wealth and comfort , he began his mission by preaching his doctrine of redemption to reach the enlightenment, “the Nirvana”, the heavenly bliss through meditation.
The images of Buddha follow some strict iconographic rules.
The four basic positions (asana) are: standing Buddha, sitting Buddha, walking Buddha and reclining Buddha. The first three positions are connected to Buddha’s daily activities (teaching, meditating, offering a shelter to his disciples), whereas the fourth one is associated to Buddha’s last minutes on the Earth when he reached Nirvana. These postures refer to the positions of hands and feet, thus creating the behavior strategies (mudra), which represent the basic subjects of Buddhism.
Abhaya mudra: standing Buddha with a raised hand, symbolizes the gesture of protecting his followers while releasing them from their fears.
Bhumisparsa: sitting Buddha, with his left hand placed in his lap and his right hand touching the earth , is the most famous mudra; it symbolizes the moment in which Buddha, sitting under a tree, reached the enlightenment .
While Mara (Satan) was tempting him by offering women and feasts, Buddha was touching the earth asking the nature to support his will and help him to withdraw from temptations.
Dhyana is represented with both hands placed in his lap, palms facing upwards, the right hand is placed above the left hand. It symbolizes meditation. Vitarka recalls Buddha’s first sermon. The tips of the thumb and index fingers touch, forming a circle. All other fingers are extended outwards.
David Sorgato’s exhibition displays several Buddha’s postures, even those rare that are less known, such as standing Buddha with arms along both sides, palms resting on the thighs, calling for rain on rice fields.
The exhibition has a great historical, symbolic and religious interest. 100 Buddha signify one hundred symbols representing the Buddhist, agnostic philosophy where ceremonies are not included whereas relic worshipping, holy places and holy symbols are normally practiced.