Professor Michael W. Meister, History of Art Department, University of Pennsylvania

COOKING FOR THE GODS is an exhibition organised for The Newark Museum and on display there from October 1995 through July 1996, then at the Palmer Museum of Art, Pennsylvania State University, State College PA. The exhibition puts implements and images used for home worship into their ritual setting in Bengal.

This exhibition is now travelling to other venues in the US. It currently is part of the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco's commemoration of the 50th anniversary of India's independence from June 28-September 28, 1997.

"Cooking for the Gods" is also scheduled at the Art Gallery at Mt. Holyoke College, Massachusetts, in 1998. Other institutions interested in scheduling this exhibition should contact Valrae Reynolds, Curator at the Newark Museum, for more information.

The research coordinator and research associate at The University of Pennsylvania for this project have been Michael W. Meister and Pika Ghosh; the curator at the Newark Museum is Valrae Renolds; the exhibition draws on the Nalin collection in the Newark Museum and on the generous gifts of Dr. David Nalin to the University of Pennsylvania for preparation of the exhibition. Photographs are courtesy of Dr. Nalin.

A review of this exhibition by Holland Cotter appeared in The New York Times on June 30, 1996.


A catalogue for this exhibition, Cooking for the Gods: The Art of Home Ritual in Bengal, is available from the University of Pennsylvania Press. To order a copy, please contact the Press at 1-800-445-9880.

The essays in this catalogue are:

Objects in the Exhibition

Ethnography of Home Ritual

A major contribution of this exhibition is the context of ritual into which these objects have been reestablished. For a sampling of this ethnographic material, see ethnographic images.

Installation Photographs

The exhibition in Newark was installed in three galleries, beginning with explanatory material, objects in cases and in ritual contexts, and ending with the installation of a home altar.


  • Alamkara: 5000 Years of Indian Art, an exhibition organised by the Asian Civilisations Museum, National Heritage Board, Singapore, and the National Museum, New Delhi.

    I. Shrines

    Catalogue number:

    II. Deities

    III. Ritual Implements

    IV. Utensils

    V. Architecture and Ornament

    VI. Votive Objects and Toys

    VII. Ethnographic Pictures

    History of Art

    Last Modified: May 12, 1997
    Page maintained by Joan Lee Jones
    Please direct comments or questions to:

    Michael W. Meister
    Pika Ghosh