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Feminine Power and Male Mysteries

Yesterday we enjoyed another of our magical day-trips, this time visiting the Feminine Power exhibition in the British Museum, followed by the London Mithraeum. I think there is very little I can write that hasn’t already been expressed in countless reviews but I will add some personal thoughts.

The exhibition is comparatively small but it does contain some “big hitters”, really stunning pieces that are rarely on display and what felt unique was the opportunity to view them in relationship to each other. When you see for instance the famous “Queen of the Night” relief and then look at Waterhouse’s Circe, there are some common themes for me in posture, symbols and expression.

I also loved the modern sculpture of Lilith which was deliberately positioned in a way that made it impossible to subject her to the gaze of the observer. That made for a fascinating contrast to an ancient Aphrodite statue next to her which was far more ambiguous - is she being modest or drawing attention to herself? That one felt like it was all about the gaze of the observer.

When we moved on to the Mithraeum the experience was entirely different again: there is comparatively little to “see” but the short immersive show does give an idea of how the space might have been used. Recorded sounds and lighting cleverly suggest a more complete form of the temple, of men entering the space and approaching the main altar with chant and drumming and of feasting afterwards.

All in all we had a great day out, I can highly recommend catching the Feminine Power exhibition while it is on until 25th of September. The London Mithraeum is open all year around and a visit is free.

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