Cactus Gallery LA
SACRED PROSTITUTE by artist Ulla Anobile
Paper mache, acrylics, mixed media, 13" x 8 1/2"
In many ancient temples a 'sacred prostitute' was a priestess, seen as a representative of the goddess in her sensual, life-giving, ecstatic aspect. She combined two sides of the feminine archetype, which have been split up in later (mostly patriarchal) cultures: the sexual and the spiritual. There were rituals in which the king, or ruler, would join the priestess-prostitute in an act of a sacred marriage: a union meant to ensure well-being and fertility for the entire nation. Such rituals are not easy to comprehend in our culture, in which the sexual and the spiritual elements are separated, and even seen as warring opposites. When I created my mask, I wanted to give her expression a feeling of slight melancholy, which I imagined would accompany a woman's dedication to such an existence. A book by Nancy Qualls-Corbett, 'The Sacred Prostitute: Eternal Aspects of the Feminine', discusses this intriguing topic.