Phallic symbolism is one of the oldest and most prevalent motifs in religion, culture and art: the earliest known representations go back to prehistoric times. Starting off as a symbol of fertility, the phallus has gone through numerous interpretations in the way it is perceived, and its symbolic significance varies across cultures as well. In the west, the erotic symbolism of the phallus is often emphasized, whereas in India, the most widely seen representation of the phallus is religious, in the form of the lingam, associated with Shiva. Pha(bu)llus draws on the intricate network of ideas and beliefs regarding the phallus to present a fascinating look at the most obsessed-with body part in human history.
About the Author
Dr Alka Pande is a consultant arts advisor and curator of the Visual Arts Gallery at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. In December 2006, she was awarded the Chevalier dans lOrdre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government. She also received the Charles Wallace Award in 1999-2000. Dr Pande has completed her post-doctoral studies in critical art theory from Goldsmith College and has a range of books, academic papers and lectures on diverse aspects of the arts to her credit