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The Sacred Lives of Objects

Seeing and Being Seen in the Modern Museum

Objects are not usually thought to possess their own power. Indeed, when people are disempowered we say that they are “objectified.” But everyday objects, as well as objects of devotion, act upon us in powerful ways.

This exhibit seeks to explore the potential for power, movement, and action in devotional objects. We challenge you to remain open to the possibility that objects have complex lives of their own. As you look at them, they might be looking back.

[Objects of Devotion] 

Natalie Gummer and her RLS 210 Religious Studies class curated the "Objects of Devotion Exhibit." Click on the small images to read the sub-themes and view the individual objects.

This exhibit runs through November 10 in the North Gallery.

[Objects of Devotion] 


Can an object give or take life?

A boy slept in the temple at the foot of the statue to Asclepius; in the morning he was healed. The assistant who collected these manuscripts was attacked by a spirit that caused him to become deathly ill. When this kris blade is pointed (or points itself) at you, you may meet your untimely demise. The stories of these objects narrate times of sickness, health, and death, and challenge us to ask: Do we have power over our own lives or are there other forces vying for it?


Loriann Bork
9 September 2013
#4 of 4
What makes an object live?
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Can an object give or take life?

#4 of 4