From antiquity to the present, the world’s cultures have formed very specific attitudes toward the role of women in religion. These attitudes have fluctuated immensely, sometimes elevating women to the status of priestess or goddess, sometimes casting them in the extremes of saint and sinner. Moreover, a vast, visual legacy abounds in “sacred feminine” imagery, documenting these many roles and attitudes. The Sacred Feminine, Prehistory to Postmodernity examined this complex and ambivalent history by showcasing a wide range of objects and media from both western and non-western traditions, from the Neolithic period to the present. Additionally, a number of categories illuminated historically recurrent roles such as the sacred mother, models of knowledge and power, the dangerous feminine, divine queens, sainthood, other devotees and consorts, the cult of the virgin, and postmodern interpretations of women and spirituality.
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"I still remember the feeling of awe and disbelief when I was alone and walked in the room with those casts." --Ruth Tofle, chair of architecture, winner of the 2013 distinguished faculty award from the MU Alumni Association