Asian medicines, the art of balance

From May 17 to September 18, exhibition at MNAA-GUIMET.

Designed as an original experience, an introspective journey between the body and the supernatural, Médecines d'Asie is the first major exhibition in France devoted to the three great Asian medical traditions: Indian, Chinese and Tibetan. Through a scenographic journey beyond borders and time, the exhibition transports the visitor to a universe where thousand-year-old medical practices and exceptional works of art meet, evoking meditation and shamanism, the balance of energies and the pharmacopoeia, massage and acupuncture, astrology and exorcism.
The exhibition offers a dive through four major themes, in a striking face to face with 300 works, most of them shown for the first time, from French national collections and major European heritage institutions.

From myth to history

The first part presents the fundamental aspects of the three great traditions of medicine, through works of great aesthetic and spiritual force. The visitor gradually discovers the mythology, the history and the development of medical traditions based on the equivalences between infinitely large and infinitely small. The journey continues with the presentation of the pantheon of deities linked to medicine, in which the concepts of disease or healing are embodied, recalling the links between medicine and spirituality.

Diagnosis and care

The exhibition route continues in a more intimate and warm space. Central point of the exhibition, a space designed as a dream apothecary presents the pharmacopoeia, acupuncture and moxibustion. Between a pharmacy and a cabinet of curiosities, there are acupuncture mannequins, medicinal plants and precious medicine boxes. Treatment techniques such as massage and energy practices (qi gong, tai chi, yoga) are also discussed. In the enveloping atmosphere of a room dedicated to rest and spiritual introspection, the visitor has the opportunity to indulge in a meditation exercise, while contemplating works imbued with great serenity.

soul medicine

Beyond the physiological body, it is also the mind and psyche of beings that Asian medicines are concerned with. Astrology, charms and rituals, amulets and talismanic garments are all means to fight against the unspeakable affections of the soul. Two alcoves, devoted respectively to shamanism and exorcism, invite you to come face-to-face with supernatural medicines. A section is also devoted to the symbolic protection of children through objects imbued with intimacy and love.

East and West: the dialogue of opposites

The popularity and effectiveness of Asian medicines is undeniable today both in a well-being approach and in hospital care. The end of the journey evokes the medical dialogue between East and West since the 16th century. Precious encyclopaedic works are presented in a scenography reminiscent of the atmosphere of old libraries.


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