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Click on one of the images to find more information on the related publication.

The Play of Love and Covert Rebellion

‘The Play of Love and Covert Rebellion. Swing festivities in India’, in Herman Beck, Rein Nauta, & Paul Post (eds.),

On Play. Theology as drama and illusion (Damon: Leende, 2000), pp. 73-94, available in Dutch only


Swing festivities are quite common in India. In exquisite miniature paintings we see women sitting on a swing beneath Spring trees, lovers swaying sensuously on a swing in the evening breeze, and statues of the deities seated on a swing while being swung gently during an outing away from the dark confines of their temple.


Swinging is scarcely the domain of children in such art forms, and in such rituals. Instead, sitting on a swing, either singly or as a couple, is often connected to the sensuous and the erotic. But the act of swinging may also be a form of rebellion, especially for women: liberating themselves from the usual gender restrictions for a moment, and joyously reaching out to the sky.
Albertina Nugteren allows the reader an intimate look at an act of implicit rebellion that functions as a safety valve for a hierarchical and restrictive society.


Belief, Bounty and Beauty Hinduism: Past and Present God as an Alternative? Rituals around the Bodhi-tree From Cosmos to Commodity Home is Where the Mūrtis Are Disaster Rituals A Strong Current