L'ascensione come esperienza del sacro | L'ascension comme expérience du sacré
Texts by Christine Kontler, Nathalie Bazin, Enzo Bianchi and Antonio Paolucci
The mountains’ sacred side revealed through the works of pre-Columbian, Chinese, and European cultures.
Mountains have symbolized transcendence, infinity, and eternity in all cultures and in all the most obscure religions. Climbing to a mountain top and coming down again is a metaphor of a shared spirituality that displays similar characteristics in civilisations and cultures otherwise very distant from one another, from both a geographic and temporal point of view. Man has always experienced the powerful, concrete sensation that mountains are places where he can find solitude and the right circumstances to meditate and commune with nature and the transcendent. And they have been present in the iconography of the world’s art throughout the centuries.
This catalogue records the way mountains have registered their anthropological and spiritual presence among the civilizations of meso-america, mexico, and asia (china and Tibet) and in the Judaeo-Christian and Orthodox Western tradition through masterpieces in the history of art, photographs, and ethnographic objects, testifying to a constant and multifaceted interest in mountains. A mountain forms the axis uniting the three cosmic regions of heaven, earth, and hell; a mountain represents a divinity; mountains are the abode of the gods; mountains are the place where man and God meet.
Christine Kontler is a member of the Centre de Recherche sur l’Extrême-Orient at the University of Paris-Sorbonne and a professor at the François Rabelais University of Tour and at the Catholic Institute in Paris.
Nathalie Bazin is a curator at the Musée Guimet in Paris.
Enzo Bianchi is monk and the founder and present prior of the Bose Community. He is a member of the International Academy of Religious Sciences (Brussels) and of the International Council of Christians and Jews (London).
Antonio Paolucci is the director of the Vatican Museum.