Back Cover Copy
SEXUALITY / ART
Worship of the phallus as a symbol of creative energy has been central to virtually every world culture, and strong traditions of phallic art exist throughout India, Egypt, Greece, and Northern Europe. Yet we in the West, hampered by modern taboos, have been unable to see this most fundamental of symbols for what it is--the image of the creator in mankind. Alain Daniélou, the foremost authority on the art and spirituality of India and the classical world, here unveils the religious impulse underlying art that at first seems purely erotic.
The Phallus surveys a wide range of art, myth, and cultural customs, examining phallic amulets of Neolithic man, standing stones of Europe, the mukha lingam of India, the obelisks of Rome and Egypt, and other representations of male fertility. Daniélou shows the primal role played by ithy-phallic gods in such diverse mythologies as those of the Celts (Cernunnos, the Horned God), Greeks (Pan, Hermes, Priapus), and Hindus (Ardhanarishvara, the androgyne). He also explores the cults of Shiva and Dionysus in their role of bringing men into the communion with the creative forces of life. It is in this capacity--as a manifestation of the creator, a source of bliss and transcendence--that the phallus has its most powerful role in human symbolism. And, Daniélou argues, if we are to maintain our link to the divine, it must assume this symbolic role again.
Profusely illustrated with some of the world's finest examples of phallic art, The Phallus celebrates the expression of the masculine in the religious traditions of East and West.
Dancer, musician, and scholar, ALAIN DANIÉLOU (1907-1994) wrote more than thirty books about the philosophy, religion, and art of India and the Mediterranean. Following a series of successful careers, Daniélou settled in India and spent fifteen years in the study of sanskrit, philosophy, and music. After numerous university appointments in India, he returned in 1963 to Europe, where he established the Institute of Comparative Music Studies. Daniélou's other books include The Complete Kama Sutra; Gods of Love and Ecstasy; Myths and Gods of India; and Virtue, Success, Pleasure, and Liberation.