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spirituality 14.pdf

spirituality 14.pdf

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Published by: Francisco Ascencio on Feb 06, 2013
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spirituality - lesson 14: the bathroom

we know that water makes up the majority of our bodies. we can survive far longer without food than without water. many doctors feel that the majority of health conditions could be relieved if people drank more clean water daily... as we explore spirituality and its relationship to our physical existence, water seems to be important, if only as a symbol. there are many connections between water and spirituality. it's difficult to know the significance of these connections, but they seem to exist through all cultures and religions. sometimes, water seems to be an interesting part of spiritual beliefs and practices. for example for many people, baptism is an important spiritual rite that involves water. a similar pagan tradition exists, and uses a bath - sometimes a herbal or mineral bath - for spiritual and/or emotional purification. likewise, most countries have holy wells and sacred springs, and fairy tales tell us about wishing wells. the places where we celebrate water are calming and beautiful places for meditation, and an opportunity for reflection on the many ways that nature and spirituality are connected. in ancient times the spiritual essence of water evoked a sense of wonder, reminding people that they were threads in the web of life. water and the bathroom water's spiritual affiliation to humans is as vast as it is potent. despite people being much more removed from the natural world today, one place where we can find a moment to contemplate is the bathroom. here is a place in our homes where more often than not we are alone, where we can stop whatever it is we are doing, relax and think. the necessity of bathrooms means that they are not limited only to our homes but found everywhere, offering sanctuary from both our personal and private lives and often adjoining the two. the bathroom in art the theme of the bathroom as a spiritual place has been a persistent theme in art through the ages. in both eastern and western cultures artists have depicted the naked female bathing. examples of the nude bathing or pre/post bath seem to have become ever more popular since the early 1800's with notable artists such as ingres, degas and kunisada exploring the theme. most japanese artists focus on communal bathing an act which ingres paints in his piece ' the turkish bath'. here he celebrates the voluptuousness female figures poular in the period. a variety of females from different ethnicities are seen bathing harmoniously, playing music, drinking tea and grooming one-another. slightly later in the 19th century degas generated a series of works which featured single nude females bathing or grooming themselves. degas thought of the images, 'as looking through a keyhole'. the nudes are not idealized women and are oblivious to the fact that they are being watched. they go about their business engrossed in their own thoughts. in more recent times pop artists like richard hamilton and roy lichenstein have covered the bathroom in their work.

‘the turkish bath’ by jean auguste dominique ingres, 1862

‘the bather’ by jean auguste dominique ingres, 1808

'the spring‘ by jean auguste dominique ingres, 1856

‘the waterfalls’ kunisada, ca.1855

japanese women at the ‘uya’, artist and date uknown

‘after the bath’ by edgar degas, 1884

'the morning bath’ by edgar degas, 1883

‘woman in shallow bath’ by edgar degas

'after the bath' by edgar degas, ca.1886

'woman at her bath' by edgar degas, ca.1886

‘woman in bath’ by roy lichenstein, 1963

‘bathroom’ by roy lichenstein, 1961

'interior with painting of bather’ by roy lichenstein, 1997

‘bathroom figure1’ by richard hamilton, 1997

'bathroom figure 2’ by richard hamilton, 1997

inside the bathroom historically bathing is thought to draw men, women, children and whole communities closer to the divine, submerging ourselves both physically and spiritually a cleansing of the mind and body. some religious practices incorporate the use of water through sprinkling, splashing, pouring and drinking in their quest. the washing of ourselves for most symbolizes the start of a new day, a fresh start. by which ever means we start the day a shower, bath or a splash from the basin when running late, water is embodied in our mind with the act of awakening, and thus so is the bathroom. later in the day you might find yourself taking five minutes to recuperate from a stressful moment - in the bathroom. the end of a typical day is often made with a final trip to ease our passage to sleep. acts of discharge, grooming and lovemaking all find themselves grouped by this space. reflection, reading and listening aid the exploration of ourselves at our most naked. by allowing us to assess things more clearly, time in the bathroom could be said to be some of our most creative. bearing this in mind you might think the space's design would focus equally on the spiritual element as much as it does on hygiene. whether opulent or minimal the this area's design is generally the same - to create an ambiance of tranquility and rejuvenation.

'untitled' by yang qian

'supple nude' by yang qian

'reverie' by yang qian

'misty blue' by yang qian

'portrait in the mirror' by yang qian

'dancer' by yang qian

'showering nude' by yang qian

'untitled' by yang qian

physical experience our physical experience in the bathroom is one exposed to a wealth of elements and their relationships with each other. ceramics, metals, powders and fabrics all responding in their own way to the different temperatures, steam, water and light. this is usually the home to some of the most spiritual man-made belongings we possess. mirrors, candles, bath-tubs and showers all have their place in spiritual ideals and in our WC. whilst they might not be found in the most glamorous of bathrooms music and reading apparatus are also commonplace.

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