Tantra, Ritual Performance, and Politics in Nepal and Kerala

Embodying the Goddess-clan

Reddit icon
e-mail icon
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
LinkedIn icon
Matthew Martin
Numen Book Series, Volume: 166
  • Leiden: 
    , August
     296 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


In previous studies of South Asian Tantric ritual, scholars tend to focus on one region or context. For the first time,Tantra, Ritual Performance and Politics in Nepal and Kerala: Embodying the Goddess-clan offers a comparative approach to Tantric mediumship as observed in two locales: Navadurgā rituals in Bhaktapur, Nepal, and Teyyāṭṭam in North Kerala. In this book, Matthew Martin advances a new theory of ritual, which spotlights the way dancer-mediums embody medieval goddess-clans and ancestor deities, through offerings of food and sacrifice, that synchronize their denizens with the land in spiralling web-like ritual networks. Uniquely interdisciplinary in style, this study synthesizes cultural history, ethnography, and theory to explore the continuities – historical, societal, and political – that characterize these ritual traditions across the subcontinent.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Matthew Martin, D.Phil. (2019), University of Oxford, is an independent scholar of religion, ritual, and society in South Asia.


Reading Religion welcomes comments from AAR members, and you may leave a comment below by logging in with your AAR Member ID and password. Please read our policy on commenting.