(6,931 words)

Courtesans between Power, Shame, and Fame

Devadāsī (slave of god) ranks among the most controversial and powerful incentives of Western fantasies about the East. As “container term,” it came to frame nearly all women working in the Indian public sphere, both sacred and secular; thereby it obliterated large differences i…

Cite this page
Saskia Kersenboom, “Devadāsīs/Courtesans”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Edited by: Knut A. Jacobsen, Helene Basu, Angelika Malinar, Vasudha Narayanan. Consulted online on 19 February 2019 <>
First published online: 2012

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